NCT Skills’ JEF CEP learners have spent the last week up at Kingswood Residential Centre in Hexham as part of the course which is providing them with an insight into a career in construction, or the Armed Forces.

The group has taken on challenges such as archery, climbing, bushcraft and zip wires to develop their team work, life skills and confidence, as well as gaining an insight into Army life.

The week ended with a presentation, where all of the JEF-CEP learners were presented with a medal, by Lieutenant Colonel Andy Black, in recognition of their commitment and dedication to the week’s activities.

Gold medals were presented to Joshua Wright and Thomas Reed who showed outstanding commitment and a particularly strong work ethic throughout the week.

Thomas Reed, who is planning a career in joinery, said “It’s been good to come to Kingswood.  The best bits have been learning extra skills such as making a bushfire, plus I’ve enjoyed the climbing activities even though I don’t like heights.  It’s been well worth coming here and I feel proud to come away with a gold medal at the end of it.”

Joshua Wright, whose participation in JEF-CEP has stoked an interest in joining the Army, added:  “It’s been a good week and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been different and plenty of fun trying out high ropes, zip wires and learning bushcraft.”

On his visit to the JEF-CEP residential, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Black commented: “What I find interesting is that the learners have already been on a journey; they’ve had exposure to five or six career paths and had a chance to have a go.

“As I’ve been talking to them, I’ve noticed that a lot of them have a good idea about where they want to go. They can now talk confidently about apprenticeships or exploring the Armed Forces. Too often, young people don’t have a plan. That’s where I think that having a programme like JEF-CEP really helps. I think that if you know what you really want to do, then you’re in a better position.

“Those opportunities will come. ‘Dog Eat Dog’ is a tough term, but I’d agree. When there’s another 300 people like you sat in the queue wanting to do the same as you, you’ve got to have that extra selling point, whether it be your reliability or your work ethic.

“I think that NCT Skills for Life is in a good position to help that progression, the learners have got a great journey ahead of them.”

Patricia Wilkinson, Managing Director of NCT Skills, said: “This group has really impressed in the way they have approached the week’s residential – we’re really proud of their effort and commitment.  The group incorporated young people at different stages of their JEF- CEP story – some are in the early stages and  will now progress to working on their construction skills.  For others, today was their graduation, and we’re looking forward to supporting them progress on to the next stage of the pathway, whether that’s a construction apprenticeship, or an interview for the Army.”

The JEF-CEP initiative is a pre-apprenticeship training programme specifically designed for school leavers formed in conjunction with the Armed Forces.  Learners obtain a taster of work in Roofing, Joinery, Bricklaying and Plastering, the chance to experience Army life and develop transferable skills, all of which helps prepare them for the world of work.

NCT Skills is now recruiting for the next intake of JEF-CEP learners for a January 2017 start.  Any young people interested in signing up for JEF-CEP or an Apprenticeship in Joinery, Bricklaying, Roofing or Plastering should email Lauren Bell (lauren.bell@nctskills.com)