BAM Construction arranged for a group of young people from the Construction Youth Trust and children's charity Barnardo's to visit the site of the Co-operative Group's new headquarters in Manchester, due for completion in the autumn.
Construction Youth Trust is a registered charity working with young people to help them access training, education and employment opportunities in construction. It supports young people whose journey to work can be challenging due to barriers relating to their financial circumstances, lack of awareness of opportunities, low self-esteem, gender or ethnicity as well as giving young offenders another chance.
Andrew Hooper, one of the young people working with Construction Youth Trust, secured a work experience placement organised by CYT through BAM with one its sub-contractors. Following the placement he started a three-month paid contract with AE Yates, with a review at the end. Andrew, from Newton Heath, said: "I was really looking forward to working on the site as I've been watching its progress. But it's even better now that it has turned into a real job with potential and really satisfying to work on an iconic building in your own city."
Penny Down, northern education co-ordinator of BAM Construction based in the Salford office, said: "We take a proactive approach to supporting young people who want to enter the industry as well as positively encouraging site visits so they can see construction in action and the career potential it offers."
At the start of the project, BAM Construction and the Co-operative were keen to ensure that local people had the opportunity to work on site, particularly as apprentices. One of these apprentices, Daniel Meadowcroft, was the visitors' tour guide. Now an assistant site manager, he was taken on by BAM at the start of construction and has just completed his two-year technical apprenticeship. He said: "Doing my apprenticeship on this outstanding building has been exciting as well as hard work and to be able to give something back to other young people feels really good."
Steve Byrne, director of BAM in the North West, said: "Promoting career opportunities within the construction industry is an integral part of BAM's corporate culture which includes sourcing local companies and trades to work on its construction sites across the UK and supporting the local communities in which it is working."
Natasha Rowson, North West project assistant of CYT, said: "The Trust runs various programmes across the country, one of which is the Mobile Classroom which provides training in basic construction skills. Young people can gain OCN qualifications from the programme and can also be provided with help to obtain their Construction Skills Certificate Scheme card which they need to work on most construction sites for a prolonged period of time."
Children's charity Barnardo's works with vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people. Barnardo's Works is a service that supports 16 to 24-year-olds to develop their skills, experience and confidence to enter and sustain training and employment. The service is based on the principle that having a job is the best way out of poverty.
Alison Wilson, Barnardo's Works North West service manager, said: "The day was thoroughly enjoyable and the young people gained a lot from it. We're really pleased to be working in partnership with BAM. This scheme is providing opportunities for our young people to get into the world of work and visits like this one are invaluable. The intensive support our young people receive from their Barnardo's key workers is combined with exciting, industry based, high quality work tasters and placements; the experience gained is enabling our young people to enter and sustain training and employment opportunities."