Council’s housing scheme is transforming lives

THURROCKhomes Council’s ambitious housing investment programme, including a scheme to transform all of its housing stock, is helping local people into work.

Contracts for the £68 million Transforming Homes project include a commitment to provide training and job opportunities, such as apprenticeships in building-related trades and management or professional roles.

Through its partnership with Thurrock Council, construction giant Wates ran a two-week vocational training programme for 16 Thurrock residents who hope to work in the industry.

Six months after gaining new skills, knowledge and certificates through the programme, nearly half (seven) are working in the industry. Another two are working in other industries while a tenth trainee is completing a bricklaying course.

Speaking after hearing that many of the trainees were now in work or undertaking apprenticeships, Thurrock Council’s executive member for housing, Cllr Val Morris-Cook , said: “This is evidence that if local unemployed people are given the chance to learn skills and self-confidence they will find good jobs in their local communities.

“This is what the council’s regeneration programme promised and it is now delivering on that promise.”
She added: “Our initiative to assess all our council homes and renovate those with problems is obviously benefiting residents.

“However we can now see it is also providing employment and training opportunities to local people, many of whom have found it difficult to get work.”

The course offered trainees taster hands-on sessions in plumbing, tiling, carpentry and other trades used in construction.

However they also spent time in the classroom learning about health and safety, tools and asbestos and visited a construction site to see what working onsite is like.

They received health and safety certificates and seven acquired the ‘construction skill certification scheme’ (CSCS) certificates.

Russell Jones, aged 24, has worked in warehouses for several years but always wanted to work in the construction industry.

Russell aimed to achieve a CSCS card with the thought of working on the building sites.

He succeeded and attained the CSCS card. Russell now works as a painter decorator in London and says he really enjoys doing this work. He said: “I found the programme very easy to learn and this is down to the good teaching we received. Without… (the programme) I would not be here doing this work. ‘’

John Ajidahun started working with Wates in their site office on 30th September 2013 as a business Administrator apprentice.

Within a month he was offered the chance to help the company’s project surveyor on commercial matters and has now applied for the Wates commercial management trainee scheme.

This programme would see him will attend college for the two years while working full time for Wates.

John said “This is a great opportunity for me. Wates is a massive company and it would be the greatest opportunity I will ever come across in my life if I get a chance to work for them.”

Meanwhile, Havering-based construction company Lakehouse has offered apprenticeships to four Thurrock teenagers during its first year as a contractor in the Transforming Homes programme.

The apprentices bring to 28 the number of Thurrock residents working for the company, including several employed over the last year who had been out of work for more than six months.

Two of the Thurrock apprentices are working towards a business administration qualification with the company, reflecting the council’s determination to ensure its housing investment also boosts employment and training opportunities in management and professional roles.

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