Sunderland-based Brims Construction has been appointed to build a world-class training centre in the city.

The Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA) will provide ‘next generation skills for next generation homes’ and support the city’s advanced manufacturing, carbon reduction and renewable energy ambitions.

Sunderland City Council has engaged Brims to deliver the building, which will sit at the heart of Riverside Sunderland – one of the UK’s most ambitious regeneration projects.

Managed by Sunderland College, HICSA will deliver ground-breaking training that will educate and upskill local people to create innovative factory-built new homes, the first of which will be built at Riverside Sunderland.

The facility will be based at Sheepfolds and will include the re-purposed existing goods shed on the corner of Hay Street.

Cllr Kevin Johnston, Portfolio Holder for Dynamic City, said: “HICSA will establish Sunderland as a regional and national hub for housing innovation, research and development. It will attract and retain local talent, providing greater education and career opportunities for young people from under privileged communities.

“The Council is creating a city-wide housing ecosystem, providing more and better housing, increasing the city centre population, and driving regeneration that will have huge benefits for local people.

“HICSA is a fundamental part of this plan and will provide education, skills and training programmes for the housing and construction professionals of the future, creating employment opportunities for local people, and supporting supply chain growth.

Cllr Johnston added: “I’m delighted that the construction phase can now begin, and I look forward to seeing another piece of the Riverside Sunderland jigsaw fall into place.”

Construction on the site is expected to start in the next month, with work expected to complete in 2025.

Jason Wood, Director at BRIMS, said “Brims Construction are very proud to have won the contract to deliver the HICSA Project on behalf of Sunderland City Council. The scheme will educate, train, and upskill local people to create and build homes whilst learning a multitude of trades within our industry.

“Beyond bricks and mortar, we see this project as an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the construction industry. By combining our construction expertise and the vision for the HICSA project, we aim to craft a space that will stand as a testament to innovation, quality, and purpose. Together, let’s build not just a structure, but a legacy that will inspire generations to come.”

Sunderland College will operate the academy with support from education and industry partners including one of the founding partners, the Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE), which is led by Washington-born TV architect, George Clark. It will enable Sunderland people to meet the city’s future housing needs, with the skill and expertise to employ modern methods of construction (MMC).

HICSA is one of several projects that will form Riverside Sunderland, including the already completed City Hall and The Beam, as well as a new footbridge across the River Wear; a state-of-the-art Eye Hospital; Culture House, a multi-purpose cultural venue; and the National Esports Performance Campus.

To find out more about the plans for Riverside Sunderland, visit