A £9.6 million supported housing scheme in West Bromwich is helping local young people to kick-start their careers in construction.
The opportunities including work placements, apprenticeships and traineeships have been created at the site in Oxford Road, where Sandwell Council is working in partnership with ENGIE’s regeneration division to build 93 much-needed affordable homes.
So far around a dozen students have taken up work placements with another ten in the pipeline during the coming months with the site offering valuable work experience and industry recognised qualifications in a variety of construction trades, from bricklaying and carpentry to plastering and quantity surveying.
Apprentice quantity surveyor Govind Mann (18) and apprentice ground worker Ryan Taylor (24) are learning their trades on the new supported-housing scheme. And Ryan Lawrence (20) is working on the site as a trainee quantity surveyor.
Govind said: “After completing a week of work experience which was mandatory at my sixth form, I returned to ENGIE during the summer holidays to complete another two weeks. I was then offered an apprenticeship and haven’t looked back since. I am constantly learning new skills and meeting new people every day.”
Trainee quantity surveyor Ryan Lawrence, said: “When I was doing my A levels, I liked maths but wasn’t really sure what job I wanted to do. A careers rep from ENGIE gave a talk at my school and explained about the different jobs in construction. I applied for an unpaid internship with them and after that ended I got the traineeship I’m doing now.”
Councillor Ann Shackleton, Sandwell’s cabinet member for social care, who was visiting the site, said: “It was good to hear these young people speak so enthusiastically about their personal journeys into a career in the construction sector and how they are working towards achieving industry-recognised qualifications.”
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Sandwell’s cabinet member for housing, added: “It’s great that this new supported housing scheme provides another opportunity for Think Sandwell to work with partners such as ENGIE to provide training and employment opportunities in Sandwell, creating better prospects for local people and at the same time helping to plug skills shortages in the construction industry.”
Neil Baxter, new business director at ENGIE, said: “Part of building better communities is investing in the future prospects of local people. By providing apprenticeships and traineeships, we are giving them hands-on experience of what it’s like to work on a live construction site and teaching them the essential skills that they need to work in the construction industry.”
The Oxford Road development includes 93 homes for affordable rent, a mix of 58 apartments and 35 bungalows.
The scheme is expected to be completed in the summer.