We are pleased to announce our first Saturday Open Morning since the lock down has eased.

We have rearranged our centre to comply with social distancing measures, so please note that you may have to wait until a member of staff is free to escort you.

So if you are considering a career in construction then come and find out about our award-winning apprenticeship training and pre-apprenticeship courses. We accept new students and apprentices all year round so whether you’re thinking about starting right away, or after school, come and talk to us about your interests and find out about our Summer Programme.

We can also answer any questions you have around funding and student support.

Following recent advice from the Department of Education, we are implementing plans to allow staff and some students back to the centre. A number of changes have been made to the layout and functionality of the building to ensure compliance with social distancing and other health and safety requirements, which includes sectioning off of work spaces and designated entrance and exit routes. Some students have begun to return to the centre, in small groups and strictly on an appointment basis. Visitors to the centre are also by appointment only and everyone entering the building will have access to sanitiser gel and gloves, and are ask to agree to and observe specific COVID19 centre rules, which are given them upon entering the building. We have contacted all employers and students to keep them up to date with our plans.

Freddie joined ACE in September 2019 and has been working as an apprentice with Carl Hicks Carpentry & Joinery.  While on lockdown, Freddie has been continuing his learning at home and putting his skills to fantastic use during by starting to build a shed (see below). Shaping up really well, we say!

Q: What do you enjoy most about ACE?

A: I really enjoy meeting new people and also learning how to make really interesting and useful things from wood.

Q: What are hoping to do in the future?

A: I really want to carry on and do my level 3 Site Carpentry apprenticeship and eventually be my own boss!

Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about going into construction training after school??

A: Do it! Yes I would definitely recommend coming to ACE and aiming to get an apprenticeship. It’s the best way to learn new skills and get experience also.

If you fancy getting skilled up like Freddie, get in touch today by emailing Sonia King at [email protected]


As you know, we’re working hard to support all our students, staff and employers through this current period of time.  We’re also full of praise and admiration for the fantastic NHS staff who are doing such a remarkable job.  To show our appreciation, we are supporting the national #RunForHeroes campaign with some of our team and students having already completed their 5k.  Great work! And for those who haven’t …..what are you waiting for!!

  • Run 5k
  • Donate £5.00 here
  • Nominate 5 people to do the same

Join us! Do the above, take a picture of your fabulous self after you’ve done the run and send it to [email protected]  And remember, crucially, stay safe and follow NHS guidelines on daily exercise and social distancing.



Community and voluntary organisations need every bit of support they can get at the moment, as they continue their amazing work. That’s why, as a not-for-profit organisation, we are delighted to have renewed our membership of Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) for 2020/21. OCVA does an amazing job supporting community and voluntary groups in Oxfordshire.


Despite the impact of COVID19, we are remaining fully focussed on supporting our existing students as well as thinking about those in Year 11 who will be considering life after school.

We are planning for our annual Summer Programme, starting on 8th July 2020, confidant that current restrictions will have been lifted by then.  The six-week introductory course has proven to be a fantastic way to give students the opportunity to get a head start on building their construction career with a high proportion of those attending moving quickly into full-time training or an apprenticeship after completion.    There are NO specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE grades.

Luke Clayton is a brilliant example of Summer Programme success having secured a Bricklaying Apprenticeship with Townsend and Rideout shortly after finishing the course in 2019.  It was great to catch up with Luke, who’s been working on an AMAZING renovation project for the past few months (see picture below).  Keep up the great work, Luke!

Q: What do you enjoy most about ACE?

A: The work atmosphere because it is always so positive. It’s easy to get on with your own work but help is always on hand if you need it.

Q: What are hoping to do in the future?

A: I am planning to continue on to do my level 3 Apprenticeship and keep on getting as much site experience as I can!

Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about going into construction training after school??

A: Definitely join the ACE Summer Programme and get a head start. It gives you a chance to try a trade which can then quickly lead on to a career, like it did for me. It was also a great way to meet new people after leaving school and a fun and relaxed way to learn.

If you fancy following in Luke’s footsteps, register your interest today by emailing Sonia King at [email protected]



UPDATE – 19th March 2020

In light of recent announcements, our training centre will close to all students tomorrow (Friday 20th March) at 1600. This is for an indefinite period.

We are making provision to ensure learning shall continue where possible, and all students and employers have been contacted and briefed accordingly.

We will continue to monitor the news and await further guidance from Education & Skills Funding Agency and update this site accordingly should further action be required.

If you have any questions, please write to us on [email protected]


STATEMENT – 16th March 2020

Directors at ACE wish to make the following statement on COVID-19 (commonly referred to as ‘Coronavirus’).

There are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at ACE to date, and our training centre remains open.

We will continue to follow advice issued by the government, Public Health England and the Department for Education.  We have taken steps to ensure that staff, students and visitors to the centre are aware of how to self-assess and take the necessary steps to maintain good hygiene to prevent spread of germs.  We have also provided clear advice on the action required should someone feel unwell.

We are constantly monitoring events and will provide updates accordingly.  If you have any concerns about visiting us, please contact us on 01865 370040 or email [email protected].  We are open 0830-1630 Monday to Friday.

We were delighted to attend the Freemen of Oxford Apprentice Awards last night at the Town Hall in Oxford, where we saw Angus from Taylor Wimpey presented with his award for carpentry.  Angus follows a long line of ACE apprentices who’ve won awards which reflect their hard work and dedication to learning their craft.  Well done Angus, we’re very proud of you!



We’re looking forward to our first Saturday Open Morning of 2020 this Saturday from 1000-1200.  Check out the information on the link below and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any other questions!



We are delighted to have received a substantial timber donation from CALA Homes to support students on wood trades courses at ACE.  The timber, equating to 1,500 metre lengths, arrived via a recent two and a quarter tonne delivery to our training centre where space is being adapted to meet the demands of an increasing number of apprentices looking to train with us.  The timber will mainly be used to build ‘pods’ in which students can showcase a range of skills from their courses such as fitting of skirting, architrave and worktop, as well as hanging a door.

Sonia King, our Training Co-ordinator, said: “Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen an increase in the level of apprentices coming to us for quality training. We currently have over 100 on our roster; an all-time high for ACE thanks to more employers making us their provider of choice when seeking trade training for their apprentices. As such, our workshops are bursting at the seams and we have been blasting through more bricks and timber than ever before.

“National Apprenticeship Week is a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories across the country and we’d like to thank CALA Homes for this fantastic gesture. It is support such as this from well-minded businesses that helps our young apprentices to prosper. Armed with an abundance of timber and an excellent new site in which they can practice every type of carpentry, no matter the weather, our students are well-equipped to hone their skills.”

Gavin Stewart, sales and marketing director at CALA Homes Chiltern, said: “As a business which aims to leave a lasting legacy within the communities where we build, we are only too happy to be able to support ACE Training. Not only does the college see itself very much as a community organisation, it is actively seeking to nurture young talent and bolster the long-term sustainability of skilled trades.”

CALA Homes is a major UK home builder with active developments across Oxfordshire in Benson, Haddenham, Wallingford and Wolvercote. CALA has recently launched its latest Oxfordshire development, Fullers Meadow in Wantage. Forming part of the Kingsgrove site, Fullers Meadow is a light and spacious collection of stylish one to five bedroom family homes, ideal for first-time buyers, families and downsizers alike

As a not-for-profit organisation, every pound ACE can save on running costs gets reinvested back into the training it provides. Donations of materials and equipment are always a welcome and meaningful contribution which directly support the future of young construction students within Oxfordshire and further afield.

One of the college’s major overheads is the materials it uses within its many workshops. Whilst there is every effort to reuse and recycle materials where possible, there is a continuous need for significant quantities of unspoiled timber and bricks.  We’d love to hear from other companies who might be in a position to help us in this way.

Thanks to CALA from everyone at ACE!  More photos can be seen on our Facebook page.