From education to employment

Keepmoat Homes Combat Construction Skills Shortage in the North West

Keepmoat Homes (@KeepmoatHomes) and Salix Homes (@SalixHomes) are combatting the construction skills shortage in the North West with a series of training programmes.

The two organisations have worked in partnership, along with Salford City Council, Connexions, Salford City College and Build Salford, to deliver a series of bespoke training programmes designed to give young people an introduction into the construction industry.

In total, over 30 young people in the area have undertaken the programme across four years. The programme is designed to enable students with an interest in the construction industry to deliver real work outcomes. The course not only developed their skills in construction, but it also helped them choose the right career path, develop their employability skills and ensure they progressed into further education, employment or training.

During the six week course, the students undertook a series of professional training and workshops, including taster sessions in a variety of trades such as joinery, plastering, tiling and bricklaying, along with site visits at Keepmoat’s Riverbank View development. This has provided an opportunity to work alongside skilled employees and contractors, along with resilience sessions to improve their ability to cope with adversity and help them to adapt to change more effectively.

This year, seven 16-years olds signed up and completed the programme, with two going onto an electrical course, two to a brick laying course, two to a plastering course and one to a plumbing course.

Adam Jones, who took part in this year’s training programme, said:

“The programme has really opened my eyes into the various roles within construction industry and has given me a kickstart into my chosen career. The staff were really supportive during the sessions, sharing some useful tips with me around the construction industry as well as guidance to continue to build my career. The new skills I learnt on the programme enabled me to secure a place at college and I now look forward to gaining the qualifications I need to pursue a career in electricals.”

The work is part of Keepmoat’s ongoing commitment as part of its Riverbank View development in Salford. The new development will bring over 425-much needed homes to the area, along with a new park which will be available for all the community to use.

Gareth Roberts, Regional Managing Director at Keepmoat Homes, said: “We have a clear responsibility to help deliver a sustainable future and for us, this means not only delivering much needed new homes to the area, but also making a difference in the communities in which we serve.

“As a company, we have always placed work experience high on our priority list as we aim to inspire the next generation of employees and provide students an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and experience into the construction industry to enable them to make educated career choices.

“Our bespoke training programmes, tailored towards young people living in Salford, have been a huge success in raising young people’s aspirations and giving them a direction for their careers. All the participants gained a great deal of experience and confidence to start their working life, and it’s great to see so many moving onto employment, training or further education.

“At the start of the programme this year some of the students thought they knew exactly which trade they wanted to progress into but after trying it first-hand, realised it wasn’t the trade for them. We wish them all the very best in their future careers.”

Sian Grant, Executive Director of Operations at housing association Salix Homes, said:

“Salix Homes is committed to supporting young people in our communities with opportunities to learn new skills and gain valuable experience, which will help them to build themselves a bright future.

“This construction programme is a huge success story for Salford, transforming the lives of young people, helping to create the workforce of the future and proving just what can be achieved when partners work together.

“Young people have been hit hard by the impact of the pandemic, so it’s more important than ever that we continue to provide these sorts of opportunities to give young people the best chance to secure meaningful employment and get their careers on track.”

Sarah Scanlan, Salford City Council Head of Participation (14-19), said:

“Providing meaningful summer activities for school leavers is crucial, especially those who have been through the past 18 months with little stability to their education due to the pandemic. This programme has provided an opportunity for young people to experience an exciting sector, that is able to offer a range of practical taster sessions, coupled with the knowledgeable advice and guidance from the partners involved.  I am sure the young people involved this year feel inspired by what they have seen and grown in confidence and knowledge that they are moving into a sector that has something to offer everyone if you can put the hard work and dedication in. Well done to everyone involved!”

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