Merthyr Tydfil residents including a teenage school leaver and a former miner have laid the foundations for a career in construction by taking part in a free training programme.
The seven participants received training and gained qualifications through a partnership project run by Communities First, Merthyr Housing Association, the Welsh Government and EU-funded Communities for Work Programme, and national construction company Keepmoat.
As a result of the 10-day ‘Induction to Construction’ course, they obtained skills in manual handling, asbestos awareness, working at heights, ICT, CV writing and interview techniques.
They also took part in a site induction, a community volunteering day at Troedyrhiw Primary School and a team building day at Rock UK’s Summit Centre, as well as building some bird boxes for local residents.
“They gained lots of valuable experience and an insight into working for a national company, improved their confidence and had lots of fun,” said County Borough Council Employability Manager Deb Ryan-Newton.
Merthyr Housing Association is currently having 23 new homes built in Aberfan by Keepmoat Construction. “The company is keen to join local organisations to contribute to community regeneration initiatives and offer their expertise to help some local people consider careers in construction,” she added.
“The trainees ranged from 18-year-olds who had just left school and had very little experience, to over-50-year-olds who had previously worked in coal mines or other physical roles. They all reported an increase in confidence.”
Ross Andrews, 23, of Aberfan, gained qualifications in working at heights, manual handling, asbestos awareness, ICT and a Construction Skills Certification card.
“The course was brilliant,” he said. “I’m feeling much more confident about getting work – I’m more employable now I have the certificates to back me up. The Interview skills practice was great too. I haven’t had a proper interview in ages, but now I know what to expect and how to prepare for it.
“Without Communities First, there’s no way I would have been able to pay for those courses myself, or get the practical experience. It was great to work with Keepmoat, too, because that’s the kind of company I’d like to work for eventually.”
Deb Ryan-Newton said:
“We hope that with their new accreditations, experience and skills our trainees will be successful in gaining employment within the construction industry, and we’ll be supporting them in their bid to do that over the coming weeks.”
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Councillor Chris Barry said:
“The Induction to Construction course is a fantastic opportunity for people to improve their job prospects and self-confidence, and we would urge our local residents to take advantage of it.”
Anyone who would like to find out if they are eligible for support should call Communities First South Cluster on 01443 690178.