Apprenticeship course kick-starts construction careers for life


Young people from Hackney have been given trade skills for life thanks to a free, on-site apprenticeship construction course funded by Hackney Council.

Joining with apprenticeship training agency K-10, and with the support from Berkeley Homes, a free pre-apprenticeship training course has seen over 30 of the borough’s young people receive hands-on construction skills in preparation for future careers in the industry.

The course, which has run throughout the year, has given local people experience in a real world setting by providing a range of opportunities to work on the Council’s Woodberry Down regeneration scheme, which is building more than 5,500 new homes, with 41% for social renting and shared ownership, and all existing tenants with a Right to Return to a new home.

Beginning the course in the classroom, attendees were taught the fundamentals of working on a construction site with a month of intensive training, learning health and safety regulations, the skills needed across trade disciplines while also brushing-up on maths and English skills.

Completing the first stage of the training to receive the necessary qualification to work on a construction site, those on the course were given the opportunity to choose what trade they would like to specialise in from the many available - from being an electrician or plumber, to plasterer, carpenter or kitchen fitter, amongst the many others.

Matched with an on-site contractor, budding construction workers are given two weeks to show their skills on their chosen trade while picking up the real world practical experience working on a large-scale development.

Once the two weeks are complete, the contractor can choose to hire the young person to become a qualified apprentice to work on-site full time on the Woodberry Down development or the many other construction opportunities that result from a growing borough.

“I wasn’t the best at school and wanted to learn a trade, so I successfully applied for the pre-apprenticeship course - six months later, I’m a plumbing apprentice continuing to work on the Woodberry Down development.

The course was a great experience, the classroom training taught me all the basics I needed to know while showing how varied and interesting a career in construction can be. Then moving onto working on-site, I learnt the skills from professional plumbers of how to use the tools properly while being shown the work involved - no day was ever the same. I’ve now got the confidence and skills to move forward with my career, I want to set up my own plumbing business in Hackney, after a few more years here, and work in my local community. Working in construction isn’t easy but there are loads of opportunities for future careers in the borough.
Arjun, 18 years old, who took part in the course
Berkeley Homes believes in training people looking for work who want to join our wonderful industry, participants from the programme are already working on our sites. At peak construction Woodberry Down has 42 apprentices on site and Berkeley Homes seek 30% of the workforce from the local area, the programme is a vital link to help maintain these high standards.
A Berkeley Homes spokesperson

To find out more about construction training and apprenticeship opportunities, please contact Hackney Council’s Ways into Work service by email: waysintowork@hackney.gov.uk