Young locals in Newport breathe life into old Civil Service Club

Two groups of young unemployed people from Bettws, Wales recently completed a ‘Warm Welcome’ regeneration project with the Trust in partnership with CITB-ConstructionSkills.

The young people, who were not in full-time education, employment or training worked to improve the exterior and interior of the local Bettws Civil Service Club.

The project aimed to provide the young people with real work experience in the heart of their local community. Each young person was given the opportunity to make a valuable investment in their career development and in the process make a long-lasting contribution to the local community.  The skills developed through this programme enabled young people to move towards sustainable employment. 

One group of young people worked on the exterior of the building where they removed rotten cladding and rendered and painted the building. The second group completed the exterior paint work, renovated the toilets and created planters and benches for the outside area.  The group started with very little or no construction knowledge but through on-site training completed the work to a very high standard.

This type of learning is extremely beneficial for those who may have been disengaged from education or employment for a period of time. The project increased the young people’s construction knowledge but also helped to increase their confidence and aspirations.  Each young person was also able to achieve an OCN Level 1 qualification, received health and safety training and is gaining their CSCS card which is essential to working in the construction industry.

Staff at the Trust worked closely with the young trainees throughout the project to help them progress into further training or work after the project. They each created new CVs and met with employers in the local area. Since the project began, 88% of trainees who have completed progressed into training, volunteering or secured work placements and trials with local construction companies.

Lisa-Marie Sweeney, a young mum from Bettws who participated in the project is one of the young people who has now been selected to complete a work placement following the course and is really excited about her future with a national construction company and the possibilities it could bring.

Lisa commented, “I really enjoyed taking part in the course, I have learnt lots of new skills which I hope will help me obtain employment – I have also passed my CSCS test!” 

Wyn Prichard, Wales Director of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “We were delighted to support Construction Youth Trust with the redevelopment of the Bettws Civil Service Club and it’s fantastic to see the building in its completed stage. The programme has given these 20 youngsters an opportunity to begin to gain industry qualifications and learn key skills, attributes and knowledge necessary to work in the industry.”

“Construction is a viable career choice for ambitious and talented young people, it offers so much variety, it’s financially rewarding and there’s much scope for progression. In Wales, the construction sector has been highlighted as one of economic importance, which means that despite the recession, there will be clear opportunities for young people such as the quality individuals who partook in this project.”