West Lancashire Borough Council’s five-year £65 million Regenerating Homes Programme is not only improving the lives of tenants - it is also helping local people start new careers.
Some of the programme’s major projects began in April 2013, with the Council intending to replace kitchens in 1,414 homes and bathrooms in about 1,220 homes in the 2013/14 financial year alone.
Around 40 people were given work experience placements with one of the programme’s appointed contractors, which are Lovell, Wates Living Space, JC Construction and FT Finley.
Following successful placements, 13 of them have now been offered apprenticeships with the contractors. People are being trained as business administrators, plumbers, plasterers, joiners, painters and decorators and electricians. Another has been offered an apprenticeship with the Council.
Councillor Adrian Owens, portfolio holder for Housing (Finance), Regeneration, and Estates, said: “Council tenants are reaping the benefits of our housing programme, and I am extremely pleased it has also created opportunities for local people to start new careers.”
These apprenticeships have been created with the help of West Lancashire Challenge, a partnership set up to help create apprenticeships and work experience opportunities in West Lancashire. It also aims to support people facing barriers to employment, training and volunteering, increase participation in volunteering, and build stronger communities.
The Challenge project is delivered by a core partnership of West Lancashire Council for Voluntary Service, West Lancashire Borough Council and West Lancashire College. These latest apprenticeships bring the total created through the Challenge to well over 200 since it started in 2011.
The learning provider for all apprentices is West Lancashire College, except for Painting and Decorating which is being provided by Wigan and Leigh College.
Daniel Gilland, 22, a business admin apprentice with Wates Living space NW, said: “Having been selected to complete my apprenticeship for such a successful and professional company has been fantastic for me.
"Since I started working on the West Lancs kitchens project for Wates I have learned so much, particularly as this is a complete change from my previous jobs. West Lancashire College have supported me with my progression in this role.”
Lee Sale, Regional Business Manager for Wates said: “Wates is committed to inspiring the next generation of construction workers and thanks to this successful partnership, we have been able to create sustainable employment opportunities for young people in West Lancashire.”
David Hindley, Principal of West Lancashire College, said: “We are delighted with the success of the regeneration project so far. The programme will help to ensure individuals get a good start in the construction industry and we will continue to work closely with employers, West Lancashire Borough Council and West Lancs CVS to ensure a successful project across the area.
"West Lancashire College is committed to help deliver the training needs of businesses, serve the community and prepare individuals for future careers, we will continue to work in partnership to deliver local priorities."
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