Local charity, Inspire Suffolk, recently teamed up with Lovell to offer young people, aged 18-25, the chance to take their first steps in the construction industry through its renowned Step Up Construction programme.
Since the course began in September, eight learners have taken their tests for a CSCS card and earned Level 1 awards in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment Qualification – two of which have already secured full-time employment in the sector.
The course, designed to help young people experiencing unemployment gain industry experience, have meaningful encounters with employers and earn qualifications free of charge, takes place over two weeks and aims to bring new talent into the sector thanks to funding from Suffolk County Council and EDF Sizewell C.
Inspire Suffolk were delighted when Lovell offered to support the students with advice, guidance and PPE to help them step on site safely.
Inspire Suffolk’s Project Manager, Garry Mills, explained, “It was a pleasure to work with Lovell to give our learners unique opportunities to nurture their interest in the construction industry. The whole team were really passionate about providing our group with the best possible chance of success and supported them every step of the way.”
Travis, a student who took the course, left school with no qualifications. Whilst he’d had jobs in the past, he’d never managed to find anything lasting. Just before the pandemic hit, Travis found out that his partner was pregnant with their second child, and the work he was in fell through. After the lockdowns and the birth of his second child, he vowed to get himself properly qualified and find himself long term and meaningful employment.
Thanks to Step Up, he has since passed his test and gained full-time employment working on the new Gullwing bridge in Lowestoft as a ground worker.
Travis said: “The PPE and site visit arranged by Lovell was brilliant and a massive thanks to them for their support. I also found their careers session with Matt Smith, site manager, really motivational and it has raised my aspirations for work in this sector.
“This time two months ago, I was really down, unmotivated and unsure of what to do. Just a few short weeks later, Inspire Suffolk has helped me to gain qualifications, regain my confidence and motivation, secure full-time employment and enable me to provide for my family’s future.”
Lovell’s site manager, Matt, has also offered future careers advice and guidance to the group.
Sasha Bainbridge, Business Development Manager at Lovell, said: “Inspiring young people and telling them about the range of roles available in construction, the opportunities and what a skilled and vital industry this is now and for the future, is so important to us as a business. Seeing this first hand by visiting a working site allows them to see first hand what a career in construction is like and spark their interest. It has been our pleasure to work with Inspire Suffolk and support its brilliant Step Up Construction programme to help give young people the stepping stone and skills they need for employment.”
Now, the students are looking forward to starting work as labourers on construction sites and putting all the knowledge they have learnt into practice.
If you are a young person looking to get started in the construction industry or are a local company looking to help support students taking their first steps into the sector, then please contact Inspire Suffolk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org