Plastering Over the Cracks - making smooth progress

Two mothers and six young people from Blaenau Gwent are celebrating after successfully completing a course in plastering.

The two week course at NQF (National Qualifications Framework) Level 1 had been held by Construction Youth Trust at the offices in Blaina of Tai Calon Community Housing, Blaenau Gwent’s largest social housing landlord.

Friends, Claire King and Hannah Armstrong, are so impressed with their new found skills that they are planning to set up their own business.  The women, who live at Rassau in Ebbw Vale are also tenants of Tai Calon. 

Hannah Armstrong said: “I had my kitchen plastered recently.  It cost me £400 and I did the labouring.  I thought I can do that, which is why I was so interested in the course.”

Claire King admits to having had an interest in learning how to plaster for a long time.  “It was much easier to do than I thought.  Claire and I are now going to study for our Level 2, take some driving lessons and then start up on our own.”

Laura Butler, Wales Project Assistant at Construction Youth Trust, says the eight students did extremely well to get their qualifications in such a short period of time.  “Plastering is one of the hardest trades to learn and most courses are run over a period of several months.  We are so proud that these students have achieved their Level 1 in a fortnight.”   

16 year old Matthew Wise from Cefn Golau has now been inspired to undertake further training.  “I am really keen now to go on a painting and decorating course.  It will be another really useful skill to have.”

Hayley Selway, Assistant Director of Housing and Communities at Tai Calon, said: “We would encourage anyone to learn more about a skill or trade that interests them.  It is about having a go, earning a qualification and, as in the case of Claire and Hannah, developing that interest into a career.”

The eight students had not been in education, employment or training.

Helen Devitt, Wales Coordinator at Construction Youth Trust said:

“With record levels of unemployment, it is vital that we continue to help those furthest from employment by providing them with the skills and opportunities they need to progress onto the career ladder.”

The funding for the course came from the European Social Fund’s Engagement Gateway initiative which has spent millions of pounds in South Wales on people of all ages who face barriers to employment. 

Construction Youth Trust secured £100,000 of Engagement Gateway funding for 2012 to deliver careers-related training across convergence areas that are socially and geographically isolated, leading to young people struggling on their journey to work.

Tai Calon is working in partnership with Melin Homes and Construction Youth Trust on skills and training opportunities.