“When you’re looking for investment you’re looking for as much certainty as you can get, but you also want to invest in places that are on the up, and Gainsborough’s clearly on the up.”
I’m a brick layer by trade, I started out as an apprentice, which is why I’m quite passionate about apprenticeships.
As CEO of The Gelder Group and as Chair of the Gainsborough Place Board, the key for me has been about growing skills and employment in the town.
At The Gelder Group, we have a big focus on building the future generation of builders, but tying this up with my role as Chair of the Place Board, I also focus on building the future of Gainsborough.
We’ve always had apprentices at Gelder’s, we have 350 staff and we’ve never dropped below 10% of them being apprentices, but we’ve been making an even more conscious effort in the last few years.
The Gainsborough Construction Career College came about because I was awarded something called a Prince Phillip Medal – the highest honour that the City and Guilds can give anyone. Out of that came various government meetings and they asked me if I would set up the UK’s first ever Construction Career College.
We approached Lincoln College, which has an outlet in Gainsborough, to set it up in the town, and we recruit the majority of our trade apprentices through that college. We now have so many loyal employees who live in Gainsborough.
I’m a Gainsborough lad – and I hate to see it criticised. Being a Place Board member for me, is about creating positive stories about Gainsborough, because a lot of positives go on in Gainsborough, it’s a great place.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve been just trying to pull together some fantastic businesses in Gainsborough and the surrounding areas – just pulling them together – and if you put a group of entrepreneurs in a room, good things come out of it.
Why invest in Gainsborough? Because it’s up and coming. If you know the town like I do, the difference between Gainsborough 15 years ago to where it is today – from Marshall’s Yard to the new Lidl, to the 24 retirement flats we’re building, to the grammar school, you can just feel that Gainsborough is on the up.