A Blackpool and The Fylde College project to help unemployed people secure careers in the construction industry has seen 5,000 workers find sustainable jobs.
The milestone was reached recently when Blackpool Build Up student Owen O’Rourke was employed by sub-contractor AJ Woods to join the groundwork team on the new Lancashire Constabulary Western Division Headquarters project, currently being developed by Willmott Dixon at Clifton Road, Marton.
The 23-year-old, from South Shore, Blackpool, said it had been his long-term goal to follow a career in the construction industry – and Blackpool Build Up had made his dreams a reality.
He added: “I was put in touch with Build Up by the Jobcentre in February and was put on a fast track programme so when the opportunity came up with A J Woods they put me forward for the job and I was on site by March. It was amazing.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do for a while and I intend to grab the opportunity with both hands and learn as much as I can.”
Blackpool Build Up is a unique training programme run by B&FC, in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and local employers. Set up in 2008, the programme targets unemployed adults from the Fylde Coast area and provides hands-on training in construction skills, as well as developing employability techniques.
Ruth Peri, head of construction at B&FC, added: “We’re delighted with the success of the Blackpool Build Up programme, which has now put 5,000 unemployed people from the Fylde area into work.
“This project has been recognised nationally as providing real opportunities for people who otherwise might not have had them and we want to continue that good work.
“Across B&FC, we work with employers to co-create programmes which give students real-world experience and ensure they are ready for industry as soon as they leave us – and nowhere is that more evident than with Blackpool Build Up.”
The emphasis at Blackpool Build Up is to provide students with the skills they need to achieve sustainable employment in industry. They also receive a CSCS card, accreditation which many employers insist on workers having before they enter a site as proof they have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out.
Laurie Lefeuvre, commercial director at AJ Wood, said: “If you are someone like Owen who is enthusiastic and keen to learn there will always be opportunities for you in the industry. Blackpool Build Up is a great programme and gives people a good grounding to help them find work.”
Martin Middleton, construction manager for Willmott Dixon, added: “The industry needs skilled workers if we are to keep meeting demand and schemes like Blackpool Build Up provide people with good quality skills – and importantly a CSCS accreditation card – so they can hit the ground running.”