HELPS PLYMOUTH STUDENTS INTO THE WORLD OF WORK
Eleven construction students from City College Plymouth are spending their summer gaining valuable pre-apprenticeship experience with local employers thanks to FMB funding.
Last year, the FMB helped to launch an initiative to support young people who are committed to a career in construction. The Pathway to Construction initiative provides funding of £65 a week to employers who can offer a work experience placement for up to 16 weeks to someone approaching the end of their first year on a full time construction-based college course.
Currently, many young people who want to work in construction start their training at a further education college, but end up leaving the industry or working in the informal economy because they lack the on-site experience needed to achieve an NVQ qualification. Clearly, it is not in the construction industry’s best interest to lose potential future leaders, nor is it in the interests of the young people.
Pathway to Construction aims to prevent the loss of these young people and their skills by providing them with an opportunity to gain valuable on-site experience and enhance their prospects for getting a second year employed apprenticeship. The employer gets the opportunity to test a person’s suitability for employment, and if the placement is a positive experience then the student will hopefully land a full apprenticeship. Based on the training they have already done at college, it would only take one more year as an employed apprentice to achieve an NVQ Level 2 qualification.
With the help of the Cross-Industry Apprenticeship Task Force (CCATF), the FMB has worked with City College, Plymouth, to fund one of the first series of Pathway to Construction industry placements. The college was supportive from day one and identified suitable students. The construction faculty staff helped students prepare for the world of work by helping them pass the CSCS Health and Safety Test and obtain the CSCS Trainee Card.
The next step was finding the employers able to offer work experience placements which were suited to the students’ skills. The CCATF and the FMB worked with the Plymouth Construction Training Group to explain the scheme to local employers. There was a small setback when Rok collapsed as they had planned to take on three students. However, this made everyone even more determined to prove that despite the tough economic conditions there was always a sensible approach to training the future workforce.
The eleven young people started their placements at the beginning of June after spending a year at City College Plymouth studying for their Diploma qualifications. FMB is not only helping young people take their first step towards employment, but is helping its members to benefit from working with someone young and enthusiastic, and keen to make a good impression.
FMB MEMBERS TO BENEFIT
Mike Smith, Managing Director of Mainly Kitchens and member of the FMB Plymouth Branch, has taken on Kieran Wheeler, a young carpenter and joiner from the college. Mike said: “The business has really benefitted from having Kieran on board who has shown genuine commitment to the work. These are challenging times for the construction industry and taking on an apprentice is a big commitment, especially for smaller firms. Therefore, Pathway to Construction is a good way to test if you are compatible, and being able to work with someone who has already started to learn some of the necessary skills is a real benefit. The FMB was entirely right to support this initiative.”
Adrian Heath, Head of Construction at City College Plymouth, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Pathway to Construction scheme for involving College students in community based activity - which gives our students a real sense of belonging and achievement. For students to work alongside industry professionals and gain practical experience benefits the construction industry and the students.”
As Chairman of the CCATF, I have also enjoyed being involved in getting the Plymouth Pathway to Construction pilot off the ground and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the initiative. The CCATF has also managed to secure funding for ten Pathway to Construction placements from both the NHBC and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors.
CITB-ConstructionSkills is also funding and managing the delivery of another 300 placements under its Pathway to Construction scheme this year. FMB members who wish to take advantage of the funding while it is available should contact CITB-ConstructionSkills on 0344 994 4044.