Construction skills celebrated at awards

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From bricklaying to tiling and painting to senior management expertise, the hard work of talented individuals from Construction Skills Solutions in Louth has been celebrated.

The achievers, all graduating from Construction Skills Solutions, a Louth-based training provider, are from three relatively new training programmes: the Apprenticeship programme which the company run from the Wolds College, part of the Cordeaux Academy.

The Pathway to a Construction Career, a project designed to help the unemployed into employment; and the Lincolnshire Higher Skills Programme, a European and county council funded venture which assists key workers in small and medium sized companies gain further skills and qualifications.

Construction Skills Solutions has been delivering training and assessment both locally and nationwide since 2008, so Monday’s graduates were certainly not the first in the company’s history.

However, 2013 marks something of a milestone as it sees the first successful candidates to complete an 18-month construction apprenticeship.

“Our apprenticeship programme is unlike the traditional college model,” explained Kevin Smeaton, director of learning and skills.

“We operate a flexible programme based around the individual student and employer’s needs.

“We can take a student on at any time as we don’t run to the traditional academic year, all things which we think are vital in helping employers in today’s tough financial climate.”

“Undoubtedly, the construction industry has suffered badly during the recent recession. Companies have folded, jobs have disappeared and some workers have been forced into other areas of employment”, Mr Smeaton added.

“However, unless we train our existing workforce now and bring new, young people into the industry, we will be so desperately short of skilled labour when the upturn comes – and I believe that we are witnessing the beginnings of this now – that we will be forced to look abroad once more to bridge the skills shortfall.”

The Pathway to a Construction Career, which began earlier this year in partnership with Job Centre Plus and Boston College, is part of this belief that there are construction jobs out there for those who show aptitude.

Kevin Smeaton: “We are delighted that from the first batch of six achievers, already two have gained full time apprenticeships and this means they are in employment, which is exactly what this programme is about.”

The winners at the awards night held at the Brackenborough Hotel were: Steve Rodden, Andrew Cooper, Mark Frost, Eddie Kent, Jordan Wain, Danny Dalling, Nathan Grice, Darryl King, Sean Knott, Anthony Palk, Darren Thwaite.

Director of learning and skills Kevin Smeaton said he was delighted with the awards.