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National Apprenticeship Week part 2 - supply chain partners

Pre-apprenticeship training leads to opportunities with EKFB supply chain

Five young people who took part in pre-apprenticeship training through the EKFB funded training hub have since secured jobs with two of EKFB’s supply chain partners.

EKFB secured funding via the CITB Construction Skills Fund to deliver training and upskilling to unemployed people local to the central section of the HS2 route. The CITB Construction Skills Funds aim is to support unemployed people into work and encourage new entrants to the construction industry. The EKFB training hub works with local training providers such as Apple Construction Training and Bucks College Group to deliver training locally.

Three apprentices – Jessica Holmes, Aaron Kavanagh and Cullen Fitzgerald – undertook online pre-apprenticeship training as part of the CITB training hub. Delivered remotely, the training consisted of a Level 1 Health and Safety in Construction, as well as manual handling and drugs and alcohol awareness.

Following their training, Jessica, Aaron and Cullen have been accepted onto the Flannery Plant Hire Level 2 Construction Plant Operative apprenticeship. Over a fifteen-month period, they will focus on four machine types; excavators, tracked dumpers, articulated dump trucks, telehandlers and ride-on rollers.

With all three undergoing comprehensive training via leading-edge plant simulators ahead of site practice, the Flannery-led course focuses on a safety-first approach, providing the apprentices with an overall understanding of plant operations and supporting activities.

Paul Allman of Flannery Plant Hire said: “It is fantastic that Jess, Cullen and Aaron had a foundation in the industry, and understood the basics ahead of their Level 2 course. We have been impressed with all three of them as they take on the next stages to become site-ready. We are now considering a further intake of trainees who have undertaken the pre-apprentice online training, as they can start their apprenticeship with a good deal of pre-existing knowledge.”

A further apprentice – Jack Wareing – swapped his previous life as a chef and trained over four days in 2020 with Apple Construction Training on Articulated Dump Trucks, and has since been employed by Plantforce on a Level 2 Plant Operative apprenticeship.

Plantforce also employed another candidate from Apple Construction Training, Ted Powell, directly onto their payroll as his skills were already so advanced that some additional training at their dedicated training facility in Weston-Super-Mare was enough to get Ted site-ready. He is now working on an EKFB site in the Aylesbury Area.

Jack, meanwhile, has been through the LP training-led Plantforce internal course in Stratford-upon-Avon to understand what it’s like on site with other moving plant, etc. Jack will balance his time on site over the next twelve months with his college work.

Sam Mercer of Plantforce said: “It’s been very successful for us to work with EKFB and Apple Construction Training and take on trainees who are already hold CPCS red card certification. We would always look for this pre-apprenticeship training in anyone we take on because they have completed their foundation theory and testing, meaning they already have a good understanding of the machinery along with the critical hand-eye coordination which is key in developing a good machine operator. In fact, we are now looking at taking on another five apprentices who have been through this training.”

The funded training hub delivered 176 courses in 2020 to unemployed and career changers wanting to get into the construction industry. With a few places remaining and funded by the CITB, it aims to deliver relevant industry experience to new entrant trainees that makes them site and employment-ready.


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