A Morley teenager is building a career in the construction industry after securing an apprenciship with national repairs and maintenance specialist Keepmoat Property Services.
Ryan Thackery, 19, s now an apprentice electrician with Keepmoat, while Admir Sarvan, 31, from Meanwood, and Paul Stockdale, 37, from Beeston, have both been taken on as multi-skilled apprentices.
The trio were among 11 job seekers who took part in Keepmoat Property Services’ Kick Start programme in Leeds, which aims to give unemployed people the skills, experience and support needed to find a new job or apprenticeship.
And when the six-week course finished in April, all three successfully applied for new apprenticeship vacancies with Keepmoat Property Services, working on social housing repairs and maintenance contracts across West Yorkshire.
The news comes in the same month that Keepmoat won a Big Tick award for Work Inclusion at the Business in the Community’s Responsible Business awards for supporting people from disadvantaged groups into employment and improving their skills for employment.
All three say the Kick Start programme gave them the skills, confidence and guidance they needed to get a foothold in their chosen trade.
Keepmoat Property Services, which has its headquarters in Holbeck in Leeds, runs Kick Start courses around the county in partnership with its customers, including Leeds Federated Housing, Leeds City Council and Circle Housing.
As well as training in construction skills such as joinery, painting and decorating, plumbing and plastering, course participants cover topics including health and safety, CV writing, and preparing for interviews. ‘Goals training’ sessions help participants overcome some of the other barriers they may face to finding work.
Participants in the recent Leeds Kick Start course also got some practical experience fixing a local community centre in Beckett Park in Headingley which is used by the local community for dance classes and bingo games. The trainees painted the outside of the building while Keepmoat staff carried out PAT safety tests on the building’s electrical appliances.
Ryan said: “After college, I managed to secure work doing electrical rewiring but it was only for four months so I found myself at the local job centre trying to find work. It was there I found out about the Kick Start programme.
“Getting the apprenticeship was a dream come true - this is what I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. An office job just isn’t for me - I like to be out and about doing something practical and working with my hands.
“I’m working with a great team and learning something new every day.
For Paul, he admits it came as a surprise that he secured one of the three apprenticeship places.
He said: “At 37 I did think it was going to go to one of the younger lads but it just goes to show it doesn’t matter what time of life you’re at you can make a positive change. I had just come out of an 11 year job operating reach trucks at a food factory and I was looking to do something totally different.
“I had thought a few years earlier about doing an apprenticeship but having four children and with the cost of living I felt I couldn’t risk the potential drop in income. But with losing my job at the food factory and discovering the Kick Start course it just felt like it was the right time. I’m really enjoying the work and the hours are much better than my old job where weekend, evening and bank holiday working were all expected. I am learning new things every day and am setting myself up with a trade for life.”
Father-of-one Admir Sarvan, who is originally from Bosnia Herzegovina, moved to the UK nearly 12 years ago and had been working self-employed in the building trade but this is his first apprenticeship.
He said: “I see this as the start of a journey for me and I hope to go on to develop my skills even further and perhaps go into management or become a surveyor. I feel this could be a real stepping stone for me. I really benefited from the Kick Start programme which focused on all the right practical things I needed to do to get a job. Securing the apprenticeship with Keepmoat was the icing on the cake and I am enjoying all aspects of the apprenticeship so far.”
All three will study at Leeds Building College for NVQ level 3 qualifications in their chosen apprenticeship from September.