Six young people have successfully taken their first steps into the construction industry at the North West Cambridge Development by completing a “Get Into Construction” course run by The Prince’s Trust.
The participants, aged 17-25 were recruited locally by youth charity, The Prince’s Trust, to offer young, unemployed people the chance to kick-start a career in construction. As part of the programme, they received three weeks’ training to enhance their employability skills and training which helped them to pass the tests for the British Safety Council’s Level 1 award and the CSCS card, which will enable them to work on construction sites. Additionally, participants undertook two weeks’ vocational experience with one of the North West Cambridge Development contractors.
One of the participants, Steven Whitehead aged 23 from Cambridge had been unemployed for one year. After successfully completing the five-week programme he has been offered a role with one of the contractors on site, Skanska, which has the potential for a long term apprenticeship.
Steven said: “I have been doing courses and applying for jobs for a year. The Prince’s Trust course sounded like a good opportunity because I wanted to do something practical, I could get the CSCS card and I needed a job. Every day on site is different and I’m learning new things all the time through the varied work. From the course, my confidence has increased; I’ve made friends and learnt new skills.”
Steven’s course colleagues (pictured above) also celebrated the completion of the course and are pursuing employment and further work experience on construction sites. They will be supported by their host contractor and The Prince’s Trust through their mentoring programme.
Gavin Heaphy, Construction Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “We are extremely proud that through this initiative young local people have had the opportunity to learn about the construction industry and all the careers that are available. The industry needs young people and to hear that they have impressed from their work experience and that have secured jobs both with our contractors and in the industry is fantastic. It is a great testament to the powerful impact that these schemes can have on individuals and their families. We wish them a long and safe career in Cambridge or wherever in the world their work takes them.”
In addition to the six participants who completed the course, five others successfully completed the first part of the course and achieved qualifications that enabled them to work on a construction site. They are pursuing employment through agencies within the industry and beyond. All young people who complete a Prince’s Trust course are mentored to help them move into work, education or training.
John O’Reilly, Director for The Prince’s Trust in Central England said, “Unemployed young people often just need a chance to prove they have the motivation and talent required to get on the career ladder. As well as developing skills and providing experience, the Get into construction programme, with our fantastic partners North West Cambridge Development, bridges the gap between employers and young job seekers. It is clear from the results that these young people have jumped at the chance to make the most of this opportunity.”
June Wilkinson, Education & Employment Co-ordinator, BAM Construction said ““BAM is a strategic charity partner of The Prince's Trust. We are committed to help fund The Prince's Trust 'Get into Construction' projects and we part-funded this five week course. We were able to give two young people placements and delivered a number of the workshops. During our time working on North West Cambridge we saw this as an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of unemployed young people in the area and begin to address the shortage of skills in the construction industry.”
The Prince’s Trust runs initiatives which prepare young people for work in a variety of industries. The “Get Into Construction” programme is the first initiative in this industry to run in Cambridge and was hosted at the North West Cambridge Development. This programme has been funded by BAM Construct and HSBC. Placements were facilitated by the contractors on the development: BAM, Farrans, Graham, RG Carter, Skanska and Wates.