Eight apprentices working on a major housing repairs and maintenance programme for Birmingham City Council are kick-starting their careers with leading social housing maintenance provider, Wates Living Space.
The news comes as Wates celebrates National Apprenticeship Week (6-10 March), during which the business is showcasing its commitment to bringing local training and employment to Birmingham.
The apprentices have joined a 260-strong workforce currently carrying out housing maintenance across west central and east Birmingham, which includes the maintenance of over 31,000 properties across the city over a four-year period*.
Forming an integral part of the project team, Thomas Humphries (23), John McDonagh (20), Akeel Rehman (22), Luke Birch (17) and Matthew Wade (19) are all undertaking apprenticeships in electrical installation. Harry O’Reilly (20) and Connor McCleary (19) are both completing maintenance apprenticeships, and Josh Daniels (18) is working towards becoming a plumber.
The maintenance programme in Birmingham is an exciting project to be involved in and I find myself learning new things every day. Wates is a really supportive company to work for and members of the project team are more than happy to answer any questions I have, no matter how silly they may seem!”
Apprentice John McDonagh
In addition to the eight apprentices working on the scheme, four qualified apprentices have been given a step up on the career ladder, earning full time positions with Wates.
Chris Grainger (19), Charlie Gatson (20), William Long (19) and Nathan Reuter (19), joined Wates last year and have since been employed full-time on the Birmingham City Council contract. All completed apprenticeships in plumbing, joinery and carpentry before securing positions with the company.
Wates has also committed to offering work experience placements to Birmingham residents throughout the length of the contract, which last year involved the delivery of the company’s ‘Building Futures’ programme. The two week programme was held in November last year and saw eight local jobseekers gain Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards, while one participant went on to secure full-time employment with Wates Living Space.
By way of encouraging more students to consider a career in construction, Wates also held a skills show at NEC Birmingham in November last year, which was attended by young people from across the city. Representatives from the company used this as an opportunity to promote the range of trade and degree level apprenticeships available to those interested in joining the sector.
National Apprenticeship Week is the perfect time to recognise the achievements of our talented apprentices and commend the efforts of our project team in supporting and motivating those working on the Birmingham City Council contract.
“In offering apprenticeships and work experience placements to local members of the community, we are able to bring an impactful boost to the employment opportunities available to Birmingham residents, while also up-skilling the next generation of maintenance workers.”
Stewart Reid, Regional Director at Wates Living Space.
Apprenticeships are a great way to tackle unemployment, set out clear careers paths for young people and improve Birmingham’s skills base. This is something that we all need to support. That’s why it is a vital part of the city council’s ‘Step Forward’ skills campaign, which is aimed at strengthening the local economy, through skills enhancement, which promotes inclusive growth that reaches out to all citizens, in all parts of the city.”
Councillor Brett O’Reilly, cabinet member for jobs and skills
* Details of contract – 12,664 properties in west central Birmingham – including Perry Barr and Ladywood district – and 18,383 properties in east Birmingham – including Hodge Hill, Yardley and Hall Green districts. 31,027 properties in total.