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Minister meets young people ‘Getting into Construction’ at landmark Cardiff urban regeneration scheme

Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, visited a landmark new Cardiff housing development on Monday, 20 March, to meet local young people taking their first steps into a career in the building industry through The Prince’s Trust’s Get into Construction programme.

Lovell, Tirion Group and Cadwyn Housing Association are partnering with the youth charity to help local unemployed people aged 18 to 25 launch their construction careers.

Sixteen young people from Cardiff are benefiting from the three-week programme which will enable them to improve their employability skills, gain a health and safety qualification and a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card – an essential qualification for anyone who wishes to work on a construction site – as well as valuable work experience at a ‘live’ construction development.

The Minister met the Cardiff trainees during their work experience learning practical skills with the help of the Lovell construction team building The Mill, Canton, a £100 million housing development – one of Wales’ largest urban regeneration programmes – which is creating 800 homes for sale and rent on the former Arjo Wiggins Paper Mill site in west Cardiff.  At the end of the training programme, all successful candidates will have the chance to be interviewed for jobs and training opportunities with Lovell, the company’s subcontractor partners and shared apprenticeship scheme Y Prentis. The young people are also mentored for six months after the programme’s end to help them make the most of the experience.

The Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James says: “By 2020 Wales will need 17,000 construction and building roles so attracting, nurturing and retaining skills talent to this important sector is vital for Wales’ economic growth.

“We are committed to encouraging more people, especially girls, to pursue careers within the construction sector and this scheme offers a great learning and development experience to everyone involved and the prospect of securing further employment and training opportunities at the end of it.”

Kayleigh Nasir, 22,from Pentwyn, Cardiff, one of four young women taking part in the Trust’s programme, says: “I’ve always been interested in construction – my family work in construction – but I never had the opportunity to find out about construction careers at school.

“The course is really good – I’m learning so much more than I expected. I’ve been unemployed for about 18 months and have tried hard to find a job. The Prince’s Trust course is a great chance for me. I’m using the course to find out more about the different construction trades, such as carpentry and bricklaying, and what they involve and work out what will suit me best. I’ve never been on a construction site before so I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited at the same time.”

Phil Jones, director for The Prince’s Trust Cymru, says: “As well as developing skills and providing experience, the Get into Construction programme, with our fantastic partners, bridges the gap between employers and young job seekers. We were delighted to welcome Julie James to this programme, which typifies our ambition to collaborate with businesses and empower young people to play an instrumental role in Welsh growth.”

Lovell regional managing director Kate Rees says: “It was a great honour to welcome Julie James to meet these young people taking their first steps into construction through The Prince’s Trust’s wide-ranging training programme. Delivering significant job and training opportunities for people living locally, alongside the new homes we are building, is a crucial part of our involvement in The Mill, Canton. Seeing these young people starting to build their careers and discover the opportunities available in the construction industry is very exciting as well as a brilliant example of the important community benefits being created through this major housing development.”

David Ward, chief executive of Tirion Group, adds: “Tirion is committed to maximising local economic benefits in the communities in which we invest. A key aspect of this is construction training and employment and the Prince’s Trust initiative plays an important role in creating pathways to employment for young people who need assistance. We are delighted to support our partners, Lovell, in this scheme and look forward to delivering many more opportunities for local people and businesses.”

Michelle Davis, targeted recruitment and training officer at Cadwyn, comments: “It’s really important to us that we ensure all our activities help local communities, this includes helping people into work, developing skills and more.  We’re really excited that we are running this project that is giving sixteen young people the opportunity to spend three weeks learning about the different career paths within construction, and to interview for training roles on The Mill project.”

Lovell last month (February) began construction work on the new homes at The Mill, Canton. The development will provide 358 homes for open market sale by Lovell and 442 homes for rent for the Tirion Group. The homes for Tirion – which will be managed by Cadwyn – are made up of 325 properties for discounted rent, 42 homes for open market rent and 75 homes for social rent. Tirion acquired and cleaned up the long-derelict paper mill site with financial backing from the Welsh Government and Principality Building Society, and is developing it in partnership with Lovell.

The development’s show homes and marketing suite are expected to be unveiled in early summer 2017 with the first homes for sale expected to be ready for residents to move in during autumn 2017.