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Project helps pupils take next step

Emlyn Dole: Next Steps’ a fantastic project
Emlyn Dole: Next Steps’ a fantastic project
Emlyn Dole:
Next Steps’ a fantastic project

COUNCIL Leader Emlyn Dole has visited a Llanelli school which was lucky enough to benefit from the Next Steps project. The annual competition to win a construction apprenticeship sees candidates working on a community based project.

In 2012, a safari themed sensory garden was created at Ysgol Heol Goffa for children with special needs. The candidates worked through the summer so that the garden was ready for pupils starting back in the autumn and their skills in carpentry, bricklaying and plastering were put to the test. Cllr Dole said: “It was wonderful to visit the school and see first-hand the children playing in the garden and how much they benefitted from it. “The Next Steps project is a fantastic project which is not only giving people the chance to win an apprenticeship in the construction industry but is also putting something back into the community.”

Now in its seventh year, Next Steps is a joint initiative between local building firms Lloyd & Gravell Ltd and TRJ Ltd; and Constructing Carmarthenshire Together – a partnership between Carmarthenshire County Council’s Property Services section, Coleg Sir Gâr, and Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association Ltd. This year there are four apprenticeships up for grabs. It is open to men and women living in Carmarthenshire aged 16 and over, and it doesn’t matter about previous experience.

Candidates will spend a week at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Ammanford campus to undertake basic health and safety training for working on a building site; with a further five weeks of onsite work experience, where they will mentored by qualified tradesmen on a community benefit project to learn skills including carpentry, bricklaying, plastering and ground works. Last year’s winners Cavan McGill and Dylan Jones are encouraging people to apply this year. Cavan, aged 16, from Pembrey, won a carpentry apprenticeship with TRJ, and has no regrets. He said: “I have the best experience, and I am so glad I did it.” The pair spend three days a week in college and two days on site.

Dylan, aged 17, from Tyisha in Llanelli, is training to be a plumber, working for Lloyd and Gravell. He said: “It is really difficult to get an apprenticeship these days, so it was brilliant to get this. I would tell anyone to go for it.” Since the competition started in 2010, it has provided 10 apprenticeships – and one former winner has even set up his own company. A further 15 people have secured placements on Carmarthenshire’s Shared Apprenticeship scheme; 13 people on Pathways to Apprenticeships courses and four more have secured traditional apprenticeships.

Executive Board Member for Property Services Cllr Hazel Evans said: “This is an excellent opportunity for anyone to get a foot on the ladder of the construction industry, regardless of age or experience. “The candidates will learn new skills in trades including carpentry, bricklaying and plastering, whilst working as part of a team.”

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