The partner AccXel wouldn’t be here without… Bell Contracting

This week we thought we would shine a light on the partner who will be taking on one of the largest amounts of AccXel apprentices… And that partner is Bell Contracting! 

As you may already be aware, Bell Contracting is the specialist contracting division of K W Bell Group. The Group, with the help of HM Government and GFirst LEP, co-funded the creation of AccXel. On the surface AccXel and Bell Contracting appear to be sister companies but their history is far more interlinked than you may be aware. Here’s how AccXel went from being an in-house training programme to an industry-led construction school… 

Bell Contracting & AccXel’s History

The groundworks for AccXel started many years ago out of K W Bell Group’s head office. In a meeting about succession planning, it became worryingly apparent that the skills and workforce were not available to fuel growth plans for the business. To secure the future for her family’s business, Nicola Bird began conducting her own research on existing apprenticeship programmes. Through doing this research she found there were significant gaps between what was taught in colleges and what was required on site. 

Nicola created Bell Contracting’s own bespoke apprenticeship model, which she believed would better suit the industry. The apprentices were taught out of a portacabin on one of Bell Contracting’s sites by Andy Moule. Ensuring that apprentices were in close proximity to a site meant that Bell Contracting could create exercises and learning opportunities for the apprentices to put what they had learned into practice. The coordination of this was integral to the success of the apprenticeship programme. 

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Following the company’s success with the new apprenticeship model Nicola knew that this was something that all construction companies could use to tackle the skills shortages. She began conducting seminars and industry talks to deepen her understanding of the issue before campaigning for government backing.  Nicola was awarded £1.96m from the Getting Building Fund by HM Government in October 2020 to create AccXel. The rest is history… 

Speaking on the partnership with AccXel, Nicola said “AccXel would not exist today without the support of Bell Contracting. They didn’t just invest in future-proofing their business, they invested in my vision for what our in-house apprenticeship could become. This is something that I will be eternally grateful for. Without the support of my family’s business, I would not have achieved half of the success I have had with AccXel.” 

Like our other Employer Partners, Bell Contracting have pledged to give our apprentices guaranteed employment throughout the Apprenticeship Programme. They are also using AccXel’s Skill STEPSⓒ to upskill their workforce too.