The number of building apprenticeships available to unemployed people in Sutton will more than double thanks to a deal between Sutton Council and the company running the scheme.

Sutton Building Lives, which helps the borough's unemployed find work in the construction trade, will transfer its training academy from Carshalton College to vacant units at Rosehill Court in Morden, allowing the company to increase its apprenticeships from 20 to 50 a year.

Sutton Council has agreed to cover the rental cost of the new space in return for the enhanced programme, which will be delivered in collaboration with Sutton Housing Partnership and Carshalton College.

Councillor Jayne McCoy, chairman of Sutton Council’s housing, economy and business committee, which approved the expansion, said: “I am pleased that we have reached this agreement which will lead to increased training for unemployed people in Sutton and help to find work.

“The Sutton Building Lives programme closely aligns with the key principals of the council’s economic growth programme Opportunity Sutton and I look forward to seeing the next cohort of students pass through the new training academy and achieve their full potential.”

Sutton Building Lives chief executive Steve Rawlings said: “We are simply chuffed with this decision.

"The existing academy has proven there is a great demand for construction apprenticeships in the borough and we have already supported many local people into jobs.

"The tremendous commitment and backing from Sutton Council means our existing partnership with Sutton Housing Partnership will be extended so we can do even more."

Up to 30 per cent of the people Sutton Building Lives works with are young people classified as not in employment, education or training, while 40 per cent are ex-offenders and 30 per cent are homeless.

The company has developed an 18 month scheme which includes an 11 week pre-employment course to help prepare students for their new workplace.

For more information visit the Sutton Building Lives website.