12 April, 2012

Dudley’s unemployed build better futures with Wates

Dudley’s unemployed were given a career kick-start in construction last week as Wates Living Space introduced a successful national training scheme in Kates Hill, culminating in the refurbishment of the St Thomas’s Community Network learning centre.

Nine of Dudley’s over 21s who have been struggling to get into work completed the national Building Futures scheme run by Wates Living Space, which gives jobseekers an opportunity to take part in construction skills training to improve their job prospects. The week-long programme saw them learn a variety of practical skills such as carpentry, tiling and plumbing. They also visited a building site to see the inner workings of construction in action.

The training programme drew to a close with participants putting their newly learnt skills to the test by carrying out some much-needed painting and decorating works to the St Thomas’s Network charity building.

All participants were rewarded for their efforts with accredited Building Futures certification and will be completing an application for their CSCS cards, which serve as proof of occupational competence and will allow them to work on building sites in future. The programme was delivered in Dudley partnership with Stourbridge College and training and employment provider Ixion.

Established by Wates in 2005, the Building Futures programme, accredited by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, was developed to help the long term unemployed and ex-offenders return to the workforce and learn about different trades within the construction industry.

Steve Jackson, Wates Living Space Regional Managing Director commented: “It was always our intention to utilise our presence in Dudley to create training opportunities for local people and help them to improve their employability and our Building Futures programme does just that. I am so pleased we have been able to deliver the scheme and invest in the future of the Kates Hill community. All participants have been brilliant and done a great job at the invaluable St Thomas’s Network learning centre – I wish them the very best in their future careers.”  

Wates Living Space is currently working in Dudley on the delivery of energy efficiency improvements to 524 homes for Dudley Council. Work includes external and cavity wall insulation, double glazing installation and the replacement of storage heaters with gas central heating. Wates has also been appointed to develop around 200 new homes on the site of the former Guest Hospital in Dudley.

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It was great to be given the chance to learn so many new skills. I know it will make a big difference to my job prospects. I really enjoyed the course and it’s given me the motivation to keep going and look out for employment opportunities within the building industry.
Perry Derrick (25) who completed the Building Futures course