Construction course helps transform Maidenhead man’s life

3 minutes

Wates and Biosite Systems Ltd join forces to support previously unemployed trainee following free construction course.

 

A jobseeker has turned his life around thanks to Wates Construction, the contractor building the new Braywick Leisure Centre in Maidenhead, securing his first ever job following a free training scheme for the long-term unemployed.

Upon completion of Wates’ accredited Building Futures programme, in which candidates aged 19+ are provided with two weeks’ construction training, Breaze Roberts (26) was one of two participants invited to work with Wates full time, thanks to support from workforce management partner, Biosite Systems Ltd.

Prior to taking part in the course, Breaze had yet to find a job, having spent his late teens and early twenties getting into trouble with the police. A lack of confidence had proved a barrier to meeting people and learning new skills but after meeting course organisers, Ixion at the local JobCentre, Breaze decided it was time for a fresh start.

Now employed through workforce management and security specialists, Biosite Systems Ltd, on Wates’ Braywick Leisure Centre project as a gate supervisor. His main role is to manage vehicles coming in and out of the site, helping to ensure the site runs efficiently and safely.

Wates Construction’s Community Investment Advisor, Sally Kinchin, explains: “From the outset of the course, Breaze stood out and during the interviews, he really shone. Everyone was impressed by the amount of research he had done to prepare, as well as his enthusiasm.

We were extremely keen to find a permanent position for him on site upon completion of the Building Futures training and were grateful that our partners, Biosite, also saw his potential and agreed to employ and train him.”

Breaze comments: “I was very apprehensive about starting the course and the first day was tough but my advice to anyone starting out on the Building Futures programme is to stick it out – it has definitely changed my life for the better.

“I’m able to plan for the future now. I’m saving to learn to drive ​and hope to progress to become a crane operator in the future. I wouldn’t have known this job existed before I came here and this industry has a lot of different roles, so you never know where you might end up. It’s exciting.”

Building Futures is an award-winning two-week pre-employability programme for anybody not in employment, education or training aged 19+. Candidates are offered taster sessions in the likes of multi skills and carpentry as well as employability support and interviews with employers.

At the end of the Building Futures programme, participants receive a BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Construction, which is accredited by the qualifications and credit framework (QCF), as well as the opportunity to sit their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) test, which is beneficial for employment within the industry.

Over 1500 ​people have taken part in over 100 Building Futures programmes since its launch and Wates has supported more than 67% ​into employment or further learning either with Wates, its supply chain or other employers and training providers.

Simon Oakley, Operations Director – Security at Biosite Systems Ltd, adds: “When we heard about Building Futures, we were keen to get involved, as helping young people enter employment and investing in the next generation of talent is crucial.

“Breaze has had an excellent attitude from the start and absorbed the training readily. It’s fantastic that his experience has inspired him to pursue a career in the construction industry and it’s why courses like Building Futures are so important.”

Once complete, the new Braywick Leisure Centre will include a 10-lane swimming pool, larger training and splash pools, a 200-station gym, four squash courts, a larger sports hall, improved accessibility for disabled users and sports teams. While the services offered will be improved and expanded, the centre’s eco-friendly approach will see it use 70% less energy than the previous building.

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