The Thames division of award-winning CALA Homes partnered with The Prince’s Trust in an initiative for disadvantaged, unemployed young people to learn about jobs in housebuilding as part of the Get Into Construction programme.
The four-week scheme was completed by a group nine, aged between 18 and 25, who did two weeks of basic training at Southampton City College on construction skills and health and safety to gain their CSCS cards, before heading to the Kings Barton development in Winchester for hands-on experience with the CALA team.
Furthermore, all nine have subsequently secured apprenticeships or employment with CALA – named one of the UK’s Best Large Housebuilders for the second year running at the prestigious WhatHouse? Awards in November – or one of their subcontractors, and will continue to get support from a mentor at The Prince’s Trust for another six months.
One of the trainees, Tom Mansfield, is now a bricklaying apprentice and is delighted to have been given this opportunity, saying :“I really can’t thank CALA and The Prince’s Trust enough. The ‘Get Into’ programme has given me a fresh new start and the opportunity to pursue a career in construction which I never thought would be possible. I feel like I’ve already learnt so much working with the CALA team at Kings Barton and to be given an apprenticeship at the end of it is like a dream come true. I’m feeling extremely positive about the future.”
Stephen Bennett, construction director for CALA Homes (Thames), whom presented each team member with a certificate at a ceremony in Winchester’s Mercure Hotel, says the scheme is important to CALA and the housebuilding industry as a whole: “This is the fourth Get Into Construction scheme we have now run as a company, but the first project for the Thames region. The industry needs new talent if we are to address the national shortage in skilled trades and to have had such a positive response to the scheme from the trainees, CALA employees and our sub-contractors is fantastic.
“Unemployed young people often just need the chance to prove they have the motivation and talent required to get onto the career ladder. It’s clear from the feedback we’ve had from the teams on site that these young people have jumped at the chance to make the most of this opportunity.”
Rachel McCaffrey, head of corporate partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, adds: “The Prince’s Trust is proud to once again partner with CALA on another ‘Get Into’ programme. The national skills shortage within the construction industry is well documented, but we also know there are thousands of young people who would strive for a career in the sector, if they had the support.
“The Prince’s Trust is committed to supporting disadvantaged and unemployed young people into work, education and training. Our work with CALA is enabling young people to be given a real chance to turn their circumstances around and significantly improve their lives.”