From education to employment

Evolution joins initiative to give young people second chance to build career

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A PIONEERING construction business has joined an initiative to help give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds a better start in life.

Evolution creates positive social impact across the communities it serves through more than a decade of success in the construction industry.

Managing Director JJ Fitzgerald is passionate about helping to give young people, who might otherwise slip through the net, access to opportunities to build a career.

Working across the North-West from its Blackpool base, Evolution is partnering with organisations on the Fylde Coast to help teenagers not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).

JJ said: “It’s about changing people’s lives. We renovate houses to give people quality homes and we provide jobs which help people build a better life.

“Having a roof over your head and being able to feed yourself are two of the basic essentials of life. We can help people with both by providing training and employment opportunities.”

Evolution has linked up with Fleetwood Trust, Calico and The Prince’s Trust to provide NEET young people with work experience as part of short-courses to help them on the road to employment.

JJ said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this work experience for young people who might otherwise get overlooked.

“I always take the view that ‘There but for the grace of God go I’. I had my mum to get me back on track when I was young but not everyone has that.

“At Evolution we are a family and we care about our people and our communities. Providing  opportunities to young people is really important to us.

“It’s why we have launched a work experience scheme to help support young people. We also plan to offer apprenticeships so there are opportunities for those who take part in the courses to join the Evolution team.”

Evolution joined the Get into Construction programme in Fleetwood to provide hands-on work experience for a group of seven young people.

Speaking about his experience, Jordan Hirst, a young dad who has struggled to find work, said:

“I attended a jobs club and found out about the Get into Construction course. I looked at all the trades available and decided that I wanted to become a plasterer. During my work experience with Evolution I got stuck in and met some amazing people. They did such a good job helping us to go in the right direction. I learnt so much and I’ve even been offered more work opportunities.”

Logan Smith, who also attended the course, said:

“Before I joined this programme I wasn’t doing much, and I found it difficult to talk to new people. I wanted to do painting and decorating. I found it really interesting and decided that is what I wanted to do. I had one person from Evolution who I was paired with that taught me everything.” 

Rachel Allen, Youth Work Coach, at Fleetwood Job Centre worked with the group of seven young people. She said:

“We’ve been working with these young people for the past 12 months. They have a lot of barriers in their lives, so we try to break them down.

“I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the young people about the work experience with Evolution. Some of them even came into the Job Centre to tell me how much they enjoyed it when they finished working for the day, which was fantastic.”

Evolution worked with Calico, a skills and training provider, to offer the work experience for the course.

Chris Marsh, an Apprentice Engagement Officer at Calico, said:

“We worked on health and safety in construction, asbestos awareness, wellbeing, team building and communication skills. Team building was the best thing to get them motivated together and problem solving.

“At the end of the course they sat their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) test and received a green card qualification.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the young people and all the companies involved, and see how far the young people have come in the four weeks.”

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said:

“Supporting people with skills and helping them into work is absolutely crucial, particularly in towns like Fleetwood.

“Schemes like Get into Construction are important for local people and for our local economy.

“Congratulations to all those who have successfully completed their course. I wish them all the best for the future and hope many more will follow the path they have taken.”

Evolution employs up to 80 people renovating private housing, social housing and sheltered housing across the North-West. It prides itself on creating better places for people to live in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster, Morecambe, Cumbria and the Fylde Coast.

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