The Skills Company, Northwards Housing community interest company ‘Yes Manchester, Manchester Working and Procure Plus have come together to develop a new six week construction training programme designed to introduce unemployed applicants back into the work place with real on site experience. 

The aim of the initiative was to give the applicants the opportunity to experience the industry first hand and to establish if construction was the career path they wanted to follow.  The programme also offered the applicants the opportunity to attend certified and accredited courses whilst being supported with their development in maths and English.

The training totalled six weeks and provided a mixture of workshop training and work placement.  Training included an introduction to the tools used by the trade as well as an awareness of recognised working practices within the industry.

The work experience for the programme was pre-agreed with the employer dependent upon the trade, this included everything from the significance of laying out a van to specific knowledge relating to minor practical tasks, such as checking of materials for defects, types of cutting methods and practical exercises.

Each of the candidates also achieved certificates in the following:

  •          Asbestos
  •          PASMA Working at Height Essentials.
  •          Manual Handling Awareness
  •          Equality and Diversity
  •          Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults 

Amanda McCarthy, one of the programme participants said: “I was off work for 2 years due to anxiety, stress and depression, and I hadn’t had an interview since starting my last job which was 19 years ago.  The six week programme was really good as it built my confidence up before I applied for an apprenticeship.  When I was successful in getting the apprenticeship, I was really made up.  It still felt a bit daunting when I started each new task but now I’m doing it all and the depression has stopped.  I would recommend the programme without a doubt.  My anxiety has gone, I’m not worried about working with new people or on different jobs which is brilliant.”

Craig Quinn, who also took part in the course said: “The traineeship really helped me with my maths and English, as I hadn’t really done much before.  I didn’t like school so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the day release, but the Skills Company approach has been really good.  I’m doing well with my maths and English at level 2 and I enjoy going to the centre that much that I’m excited about learning.  It has been great because I wasn’t sure about it at all at first and now I am doing really well.”

Michael Bayley, who also completed the course said: "I was out of work for three months, and I’d worked mainly in the retail sector before, so wasn’t sure what to expect.  The trainee programme allowed me the opportunity to see whether I was going to like it, and I found that I really enjoyed the hands on parts of it.  The pre-interview discussion helped so I knew what to expect, and the opportunity to progress to an apprenticeship has been really good and now I am learning and doing more every day.  I would definitely recommend the programme to anyone in a similar position.”