Earlier this year, United Welsh hosted a Construction Skills Training Day for 16 unemployed local people, which was designed to give them an introduction to the essential tools of each trade and a feel for whether they’d like to pursue a trade as a career.

25-year-old Kyle Williams from Caerphilly was one of those people and six months later, he is working as a bricklaying apprentice at United Welsh’s Beech Tree Gardens development in Caerphilly, where homes are being built for rent and market sale under the Association’s harmoni homes brand.

“My grandfather is a bricklayer, my dad is a carpenter and my brother is training to be a painter and decorator, so trades run in my family” Kyle said.

“I’ve wanted to get into bricklaying for a long time so when Caerphilly Council emailed me about the taster day, I was keen to get involved.”

Since the taster day, Kyle and eight other attendees have completed a City and Guilds qualification funded by United Welsh to give them the skills they need to qualify for practical work experience on sites.

Kyle says the 10-day course, Certificate in Bricklaying Skills, gave him the confidence to develop his practical knowledge.

Peter Watkins, Community Investment Coordinator for United Welsh said: “With the high proportion of homes that United Welsh builds for our communities, we are well-placed to help people learn trade skills at our developments and drive forward the important agenda of work-based learning.

“We are proud to have been able to support people such as Kyle back into employment. He is doing a fantastic job and the team from Jehu who are building Beech Tree Gardens really value his input.”

Kyle is now employed by Y Prentis, a flagship partnership between Melin Homes and Monmouthshire Council. Y Prentis employs apprentices on behalf of the industry and rotates them through hosted placements to enable employers to participate without having to commit to a full two year term. 

Mandy Summers, Y Prentis Programme Manager said: “The shared apprenticeship scheme enables young people to gain much-needed, quality experience of the construction industry through a variety of placements.

“The scheme takes the risk away from employers who may not be able to commit to a full two-year apprenticeship programme, so benefits both employers who have recruitment targets but also the apprentices who need practical experience to qualify in their chosen trade.”

Kyle continued: “I’m enjoying all aspects of being on-site, but most of all, I like working as part of the team. My hobby is power-lifting which the team appreciate; it has come in handy for lifting all the materials!

“I’ve also been able to apply my bricklaying skills to make my own home improvements. For example, I built a wall in my back garden a few weeks ago.

“I’m so glad that I attended the Construction Skills Training Day hosted by United Welsh. Since then so many doors have opened for me and the support I’m having from Y Prentis will enable me to continue developing my skills.”

For more information about how United Welsh can help you with jobs and training opportunities, please speak to the Community Investment team on 0800 294 0195 (press option 3) or email tellmemore@unitedwelsh.com