YORKSHIRE Water has submitted a planning application to Bradford Council that would allow the water company to refresh part of its historic Esholt Hall estate, to provide additional classrooms, office space and facilities for colleagues undertaking training at its academy.

Yorkshire Water’s academy is currently made up of four classrooms and ten state of the art training rigs that allow its colleagues to get a hands-on operational education at the centre. The specialist rigs are set up to train colleagues in activities like detecting and fixing leaky pipes, finding and clearing pipe blockages, working in confined spaces, manual handling and working safely at height.

By improving its training facilities and increasing capacity at its academy, Yorkshire Water will save an estimated £300,000 on annual external training costs.

The facilities will also become a centre of excellence for the water industry. As well as Yorkshire Water teams, apprentices from its partner, MGroup Services, will use the facilities to learn key skills to support water and utility companies across the sector. MGroup Services recently collaborated with Yorkshire Water to upgrade some of the training facilities.

The refurbishment of the building, known as the Laundry Building, presents an opportu­nity to have a dedicated hub for the Training Academy. It will provide an accessible building directly linked to the main car park and comprising classrooms, main reception and facilities for site.

Sean Bartlett, manager of the Yorkshire Water Academy, said: “To be able to bring more of our training in house will not only allow us to save costs on external providers, but it will also save time and money on travel, provide quicker access to training and allow us to provide a consistency of learning across our teams. By bringing training back to parts of Esholt Hall we’ll be able to deliver more face-to-face training sessions and will allow us to further develop our colleagues' skills and competencies.

“There is also a desire and a duty to look after and enhance the fantastic buildings we have on the Esholt site – this phase of redevelopment will bring the grade II listed Laundry Rooms back to life once more.”

Jayne Ellison, national apprenticeship manager for MGroup Services, said: “When I joined Yorkshire Water over 30 years ago, the YTS apprenticeship programme was delivered at Esholt, along with all soft skills training and development. This is an exciting and worthwhile project, collaborating with the Yorkshire Water Academy and Morrison Water Services to bring operational apprentices back to Esholt Hall.”