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Y Prentis launches #Here2Help initiative to assist Covid-19 displaced apprentices within South East Wales region

10th July 2020

Y Prentis is pleased to announce they have successfully placed their first apprentice displaced due to Covid-19. Charlie Jones, who lives in Llantrisant, recommenced his apprenticeship on the 6th of July 2020 within only 4 weeks of losing his previous placement. As part of their new #Here2Help initiative, Y Prentis secured a placement for Charlie with Canna Developments Ltd at their Cwrt Canna site in Bridgend, which they are building for Newydd Housing Association.

Arial view of Cwrt Canna site in Bridgend

Canna Developments Ltd went above and beyond their Community Benefits requirements, for their Cwrt Canna project, when agreeing to host Charlie as a carpentry apprentice through Y Prentis. Managing Director, Rhodri Crandon, said: “We are once again pleased to be working in collaboration with Y Prentis and even more pleased that they’ve manged to find another quality apprentice to join our construction team. During these times of economic uncertainty we’re glad to be in a position to employ a displaced apprentice and provide Charlie with a sound start to his career as a carpenter”. When asked about Charlie, Rhodri said he “has settled in well during his first week and has been assisting our carpenters with numerous tasks. I’m sure, given a little more time and experience, he will become an invaluable member of our team”. Rhodri confirmed that Charlie will remain on site till the project ends, which is projected to be in March 2021.


Architectural Design of the Cwrt Canna site in Bridgend

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic many apprentices have sadly already being displaced within South East Wales region and as the Construction Sector starts to return to work Mark Whitby, manager at CITB, urges employers to safeguard future talent: “Future talent must be at the core of the sectors drive to maintain some stability. We understand that employers will face some tough challenges out there in terms of how they manage current apprentices”. Mark went on to state that “during these challenging times shared Apprenticeship Schemes, such as Y Prentis, are pivotal in supporting the sector in maintaining the flow of new entrants by either recruiting displaced apprentices or creating new opportunities. We are grateful to the team at Y Prentis for their work with displaced apprentice which will allow them to complete their apprenticeship".

Charlie was one of the unlucky ones when his previous employer was unable to keep him on and subsequently ended his apprenticeship with them at the beginning of June. Fortunately for Charlie his CITB advisor, Cereen Watts, immediately referred Charlie to Y Prentis who promptly stepped in to help. Charlie, an avid rugby player in his spare time, was relieved when Y Prentis took him on and managed to secure an opportunity for him to continue his apprenticeship so quickly. He said that “it’s great to know when the work finishes you can be transferred to another site”.

Charlie is currently studying towards his NVQ Level 2 in Carpentry at Bridgend Pencoed Campus. Charlie’s love for woodwork was inspired by his grandfather who was a bench joiner and since a young age he loved creating things from wood, including lamps.

Charlie enjoys being on site and believes an apprenticeship was the best route for him, mentioning that “going into A-levels was never my scene. I wanted to work with my hands on-site that is in front of you, not in a box”. Charlie enjoys a bit of crack at work and believes being on site improves your self-confidence: “Walking around on-site increases your self-confidence ‘cause it feels like you have that knowledge under your belt”. He went on to say that “being on-site gives one an opportunity to build your tools up and you feel more independent”. When asked what he is looking forward to in his future, Charlie replied, “I can’t wait to get my own van”.

Y Prentis is well positioned to assist displaced apprentices due to their ‘shared apprentice’ operating model. The model differs from traditional apprenticeships as the apprentices are directly employed by Y Prentis, who then capitalise on their large partner network in order to move their apprentices to various partner sites as and when the need arises. This model provides apprentices with more security as apprentices can be rotated between various sites ensuring they are able to complete their work-based evidence throughout their apprenticeship.

Construction companies who employ apprentices directly are sometimes faced with the difficult decision to end apprenticeship contracts when there is insufficient work available. This has been made worse by the impact Covid-19 has had on their businesses. Subsequently apprentices are displaced which has a negative impact on their studies as they are unable to complete their apprenticeship without work-based experience.

“This is when the shared approach to apprenticeships really comes into its own” explains Darryl Williams, programme Manager for Y Prentis “By pooling the shorter-term work opportunities and providing apprentices with a varied experience with a wide range of host contractors, we deliver sustainable apprenticeships adding value and complimenting the standard apprenticeship in the market”.

Y Prentis invites all contractors who are currently facing the difficult decision of having to let their apprentices go, to get in touch with Y Prentis to discuss options available to assist. Apprentices who have been displaced are likewise invited to contact Y Prentis for help.