Students who are learning their trade as part of the construction of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s £22million Beverley Integrated Transport Plan have secured job offers before they have even finished their studies.
Among them is Chris Long, 28, from Driffield who said the course had given him a new lease of life after suffering with depression, which resulted in him leaving his previous job, over the past year.
“It’s given me a purpose in my life and I’m enjoying it,” he explained.
“I definitely see myself going into the construction industry but I’m going to keep my options open and decide later whether I go onto the level three course or into work.
“I had basic labouring experience and this course has taught me a lot more in depth and in different subject fields.”
Learners are developing new skills quickly as they undertake practical lessons on-site, with classroom elements being delivered in the Balfour Beatty site office and other elements at East Riding College’s Beverley campus.
They are working towards the Level Two Diploma in General Construction Operations and improving their essential skills in maths and English. They will also gain the Construction Skills Card Scheme, the industry standard for on-site workers.
Tutor Dave Symonds said: “I’m really, really pleased with how they have developed. It’s so valuable for them to be learning their skills on a real construction site and also to see how a major project takes shape over time.
“They have been really committed to the course and some of the learners have already had job offers or begun working part-time while they complete their studies.”
Neil Beck, Operations Director, Balfour Beatty said; “We are delighted to have been able to offer this on-site experience to students from East Riding College. On all Balfour Beatty sites we look to engage with local colleges and schools to open up our sites and provide valuable learning experience to those interested in a career in construction. During the bid stage for the Beverley Integrated Transport Plan we created a detailed Employment and Skills Plan with East Riding College to ensure we maximised the opportunities for learners throughout the project.”
The learners were given access to the course through a partnership between the College and Jobcentre Plus and a link-up with main contractor, Balfour Beatty who have given the College exclusive access to the construction site.
Opportunities with local colleges and training providers, such as placements and site visits, are a standard Employment and Skills Plan requirement for any tender under East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s framework.
The continued partnership work between East Riding College and Jobcentre Plus aims to provide the necessary training required by local people to meet the needs of the labour market.
Susie Walmsley, provision manager from Jobcentre Plus, said, “Civil engineering and general construction operatives are two of the projected growth areas within the construction industry over the next five years and we are thrilled that our customers are able to access this excellent opportunity to gain not only a Level Two Diploma in General Construction Operations through the College but also receive support from the main contractor, Balfour Beatty.
“Feedback from our customers has been really positive and hopefully this will be just the help they needed to start them off on a long career within the industry.”
Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “I welcome this excellent initiative between East Riding College and Balfour Beatty to allow local young people to develop their skills and gain practical experience of the construction industry. It is very pleasing that this scheme, which will provide a much improved transport infrastructure for Beverley, is also providing these unrivalled training opportunities.”
For more information about East Riding College courses, go to www.eastridingcollege.ac.uk or call 0845 120 0037.