Opportunity has knocked for out-of-work youths in part of Sheffield – with apprenticeships on offer at a £6.5 million housing development.
The joint project by builder Keepmoat and landlord Sanctuary will see 52 apartments and four bungalows created in Arbourthorne, replacing old prefabricated housing which has been demolished.
And while the new homes are not due for completion until 2015, the benefits to the city’s jobs market have been felt immediately.
Callan Woodhead, aged 17, and Matt Neely, 21, have each been given two-year apprenticeships with Keepmoat, and are part of a team building the housing to be set aside for the over 55s.
Keepmoat and Sanctuary held two open days and a construction taster event over the last few months to find potential apprentices – and the three events attracted more than 50 people in total, which Jobcentre Plus, Sheffield Futures and Manor and Castle Trust also helped to find.
Numerous other applicants are set to be taken on.
Callan said: “When I left school I did some training which I thought would get me work on the railways, but there were just no jobs about.
“The two years I’ll be here will give me the chance to get some proper experience which I hope will help me get a permanent job once I am done.”
Matt added: “I got made redundant from my job as an office furniture fitter in February and I’d been out of work since then. I live just two minutes away from the site so it’s great to be part of something that will be on my doorstep. This apprenticeship will open new doors for me and I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve got.”
Helen Wright, Sanctuary’s head of development for the area, said: “Our developments are creating real opportunities for people to get the experience and training they need for a career in construction.
“Callan and Matt are just the first of many people who will be given a chance to start an apprenticeship.”