Earlier this summer Josh Williams, an apprentice bricklayer from Tylorstown, joined 14 Habitat volunteers on a trip to Kenya to build a home for a local family in desperate need.
Organised by Habitat for Humanity, a global, not-for-profit organisation that brings people together to build homes for those in desperate need, the group embarked on a 10-day trip to Homa Bay in Kenya. Working with the local community, they set about building a home for a local family of five who lived in extreme poverty.
The group came from a range of backgrounds, with only Josh and another volunteer currently working in the construction industry. Utilising their skills, the group had to overcome a number of challenges; from coping with the physical demands of working in high temperatures to learning how to communicate with the local people who spoke Swahili.
Josh said: “I’ve learnt so much from my trip to Kenya. I got to put my experience gained from my apprenticeship into use and get involved with jobs such as making cement and bricklaying. It was also a challenge for me personally as I felt nervous about flying for the first time, but this is something I got to overcome. I would recommend this trip to anybody who was thinking about doing it – I have made lots of friends who I keep in touch with and I felt huge satisfaction from being part of such a great project.”
Chris Mallet, Habitat for Humanity GB Team Leader, added: “Josh was fantastic on the build. He very quickly came out of his shell, completely embraced the whole experience and worked incredibly hard. To go on a Habitat open build at any age is a brave thing to do, let alone when it’s your first time travelling overseas, and Josh deserves every credit for taking it all in his stride and getting so much from it. It was an absolute pleasure to have him on the team.”
Josh’s trip to Kenya was fully funded by Y Prentis, a construction based shared apprenticeship scheme in south east Wales. Adrian Huckin, Director of Y Prentis, said: “We set up Y Prentis in October 2012 with the aim of delivering high quality apprenticeship opportunities to those in the south east of Wales. In the six years since the company has been established we’ve made a real difference, training more than 220 apprentices and supporting more than 100 partners, helping to deliver over 550 qualifications.
“Josh is one of our 50 apprentices that we have developing skills and gaining experience within the construction industry. We’re delighted to have been able to fund Josh’s trip to Kenya and support the work of Habitat for Humanity, helping to build a much needed home.”
As part of his apprenticeship with Y Prentis, Josh is currently working with Morgan Sindall, a UK based construction and regeneration group. Gareth James, Project Manager at Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re happy to be able to support young apprentices by exposing them to various experiences within the construction industry. It’s great to see Josh develop through this fantastic life experience and bring what he’s learnt to work, and I hope that we can continue to support and encourage him and other young apprentices to make the most of similar opportunities.”