Up to a dozen residents living in the Derwentside area are now setting out on a career in the construction industry thanks to a fully-funded training course.

The training, which was aimed at residents who are unemployed, was delivered as part of Karbon Homes’ Unlocking Social Value Project. The initiative encourages Karbon’s contractors to contribute time, money and expertise to local community projects where they are working.

The two-day course, which was funded by Chester-le-Street-based roofing company, Springs Roofing and delivered during UK Construction Week this week, provided delegates with the skills and qualifications required when applying for jobs in the construction industry.

One of those to benefit from the training was Cris McGonnell, 28, from Hamsterley Colliery. Cris lives with his fiancé Abbie in a Karbon Homes property and applied for the training after seeing an advert on Facebook.

He said, “It’s a really good idea to help people like myself who are unemployed but need the qualifications to apply for jobs on site. My dad has worked on construction sites all his life and I just want to follow in his footsteps and provide for my family. My fiancé and I are expecting our first child so this training couldn’t have come at a better time. Hopefully I’ll be able to secure employment soon.”

Energize Training delivered the first training session which encouraged residents to gain their IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) Managing and Working Safely qualification. This was followed up with a half-day preparation session delivered by SMARTT training to enable them to gain their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card before sitting their CSCS tests.

Michelle Graham, Employment Initiatives Officer at Karbon Homes, said: “One of the main barriers to employment in the construction industry is the cost of gaining the necessary qualifications in health and safety and construction skills.

“We are very grateful to our contractor, Springs Roofing, who provided the funding for this training. The course was a huge success and those who attended gained the two qualifications required to help them secure a career within the construction industry and I would like to wish them luck in their search for employment.”

Matty Rowley, Contracts Director for Springs Roofing, said: “Springs Roofing has enjoyed a long working relationship with Karbon Homes and we were delighted to get involved in this fantastic initiative. Construction in general is very busy throughout the North East, with genuine opportunities available to people that hold safety and skills accreditations. I would like to wish all of the course participants good luck in what will hopefully be a brighter future.”

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