A traineeship programme is laying the foundations for a successful career in construction for young people in Salford.
Build Salford is helping to create the workforce of the future, having so far supported more than 20 people into an apprenticeship within the construction sector.
The initiative is supported by 17 partners including a number of Greater Manchester Housing Provider members and their contractors, along with Salford College, Salford Council and Connexions, and targets NEETs (not in education, employment or training) aged 16-24.
Recruits take part in an intensive 12-week programme where they learn classroom based employability skills as well as on the job training in a range of disciplines including plumbing, carpentry and plastering.
Jackie Crook, skills and work manager at GMHP member Salix Homes, runs employability training sessions as part of the programme, in partnership with the other housing providers and contractors, which includes workshops on CV writing and job interview practice.
She said: “Build Salford is a huge success story for Salford, transforming the lives of young people, and proving just what can be achieved when partners work together.
“We are now approaching our third year and the majority of the trainees who’ve taken part in the programme have gone on to secure apprenticeships.
“The difference with Build Salford is we are supporting young people who perhaps would have struggled to secure an apprenticeship through the normal route. They may have left school or college with no qualifications, be drifting from job to job, or lack the confidence to succeed in a job interview.
“The NEET figures in Salford are the highest in all the Greater Manchester boroughs, but thanks to Build Salford and other local initiatives, we’re successfully supporting these young people to get their lives and careers back on track, gain some experience and qualifications, and build themselves a bright future.”
Recruits undertake work experience with the partner contractors and also work towards gaining an accredited qualification in Employability and a CSCS Card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme).
Mason Gill is one of the success stories to come out of the programme.
Mason, aged 23, is now six months into a plumbing apprenticeship with Salix Homes having successfully completed the Build Salford traineeship as part of the Class of 2018.
“I can’t recommend Build Salford enough,” he said.
“It opened the door to an apprenticeship for me and has changed my life.”
Mason, who is also a Salix Homes tenant, had several jobs after leaving school including working in warehouses and as a baggage handler at Manchester Airport.
But it was the birth of his son Max that inspired him to learn a trade and embark on a career in construction.
He added: “I love being a dad and that’s what inspired me to consider the apprenticeship route. I wanted to learn a trade so my son could see me with a career – I want to succeed in life.”
After two successful years, the Build Salford programme will soon be looking for its Class of 2019, with recruitment for this year’s programme launching during National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from March 4 – 8. The council sponsored programme, which is partially funded by the partners involved, officially launches after Easter and is recruiting up to 20 young people to take part.