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It was an emotional and exciting day at the Construction Youth Trust Training Centre last Friday 29th July, as 20 students from the ‘Budding Builders’ course attended their graduation.
Having completed multi-skilled courses in the construction trades, the students aged between 16–26 years were awarded their certificates by the Deputy Mayor of Southwark Councillor Charlie Smith.
Along with many friends and family of the students, the event was attended by local stakeholders including Southwark council members, members of the industry such as Grosvenor and Willmott Dixon, educators, referral agencies, employment agencies, those working in housing associations and other local community groups.
Having opened in April 2015, our Construction Training Centre in Bermondsey aims to support young people in Southwark and across London to access training, education and employment opportunities in the construction industry. The training centre offers OCN accredited multi-skilled and trade-focused courses with an opportunity to complete Level 1 Health and Safety in Construction.
The centre has recently been refurbished, thanks to the support of Willmott Dixon Interiors, and the graduation ceremony was the first chance to see the new look training centre. ‘Changing Lives’ was a community volunteering project supporting personal and professional development within Willmott Dixon while also giving to the local community. Through this project our students were given an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the industry while at the same time Willmott Dixon employees were provided with the opportunity to volunteer and contribute to real, lasting community outcomes.
13 alumni of our Budding Builders programme took park in the course which included one week of intensive theory training in leadership, teamwork, first aid, fire marshalling, asbestos awareness etc. This was followed by two weeks of work experience, helping to refurbish Construction Youth Trust’s Bermondsey Training Centre.
Their performance and activities were evaluated on a daily basis, with each student allocated a ‘work buddy’ from Willmott Dixon who supported them throughout the process. The students gained work experience and interacted with Willmott Dixon’s contractors, who were able to offer further opportunities. Two of the students have since been offered jobs directly with Willmott Dixon, and a number of further apprenticeships offered through their supply chain, which is a fantastic outcome for the young people through the project.
Speakers at the graduation event included Christine Townley, Executive Director of Construction Youth Trust; Tony O’Reilly, Director of Construction and Development for Grosvenor, and Neil Coyle, MP.
In addition, Anna Walterskotter, London Operations Manager, spoke about the success of the Routes Into Construction project which provided students with valuable work experience placements with companies such as Brookfield Multiplex.
Wendy Heller from Construction Youth Trust, and Jack Gunning from Willmott Dixon both also spoke passionately about how far the students had come, and how far they could still go with this experience and new-found confidence.
Towards the end of the ceremony, a prize was given for the ‘Student of the Year’. Between staff it was decided that most worthy of the award was Kelsey Tuffin, who impressed with her work ethic, her skill as a joiner, and was invited back to Bermondsey as a volunteer to work with the next course. She has since gone on to a work placement at JT Ellis and was been offered a job as a carpenter – more proof (if it were needed) that jobs in construction are not just for boys!
Christine Townley said,
“We are delighted that Neil Coyle, MP and the Deputy Mayor of Southwark Council could join us at our Budding Builders Graduation Event. We are so proud of our young people who have all worked hard to develop their skills in construction.”
Wendy Heller, Lead Trainer and Curriculum Manager said,
“Today was a proud day for everyone at the Construction Youth Trust – it is testament to the course and determination of all the young people who study with us”
We are running the Budding Builders course on a regular basis and welcome young people from all London boroughs who are currently looking to gain a CSCS card, and find employment or training.
Find upcoming courses here.