Coastal Leading the WayiIn Providing Apprenticeship Opportunities

SCoastal Housing Group is leading the way when it comes to helping people who want to work in the construction industry.

To date the Swansea-based Housing Association has helped over 30 local people take up paid apprenticeships with its contractors, giving them valuable experience working on construction projects across Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.

Clare Watkins, Coastal Housing’s Targeted Recruitment and Training Manager said, “We work collaboratively with our contractors to ensure they deliver employment and training opportunities for local people on every new housing scheme they undertake or new maintenance contract they take on.

“Apprenticeships are an extremely popular choice as both contactors and students gain from the experience.  They are invaluable for youngsters looking to get into construction and gain on the job experience where they will learn more about the industry and pick up the practical skills they will need to progress their careers.”

Coastal is currently providing placements for two Swansea youngsters.  Rhys and Dean were taken on as apprentices back in September 2013 and are currently working with Coastal Housing’s maintenance team.  There they have learned what it takes to work in a maintenance role and are on target to gain their NVQ qualifications.

“Rhys came to Coastal straight from school and is getting on well.  He had no previous experience, but is learning a great deal through all the differing jobs he is encountering,” said Clare.

“Dean had already completed the ‘Pathway to Apprenticeship’ which means he had some experience under his belt before starting. He has passed his site safety test and has recently started on the last part of his NVQ doing roofing on one of our new build sites.”

Coastal is looking to provide even more apprenticeship opportunities in future having played a role in the development of Cyfle, the South West Wales Shared Apprentice Scheme.

Cyfle operates within Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and directly employs apprentices who are then placed with an employer to gain experience whilst learning at college.

Coastal became involved as part of its commitment to the communities in which it operates and to support the construction industry in Wales.

The support from Cyfle makes it easier for Coastal and its contractors to take on more apprentices and means that they are sustained within the scheme, even if contractors have varying workloads.

“As apprentices are employed by Cyfle it means our contractors don’t have to take on the employment burden of hiring more staff.  It is also beneficial for our apprentices as the scheme is able to find them another employer if one company isn’t able to keep them on for the whole of their apprenticeship.  This ensures that they complete their full apprenticeship and learn all the skills they need for a successful career.”

Clare continued: “Coastal is one of the few housing associations supporting the scheme, but support is spreading.  With the help of Coastal Housing and other housing associations, private companies and local colleges, Cyfle hopes to ensure that an increasing number of people will progress into lasting apprenticeships.”

Since its inception in Spetember 2013 Cyfle has already employed more than 140 apprentices across South West Wales with 75 new apprentices due to start this year.

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