A £4m construction project currently being undertaken by the Highways Division of North Midland Construction plc (NM Group) to enhance public spaces in Sheffield city centre, has provided one young person with paid work experience that should hopefully help him to kick start his career.
The NM Group is installing a new footpath and cycleway scheme designed to improve safety and rejuvenate main routes to the University of Sheffield Campus. The company needed additional members of staff to work on the project and turned to Skills Made Easy for help with its search. Skills Made Easy is a unique government backed programme designed to help businesses overcome skills shortages in the Sheffield City region and also to help young people develop their skills by connecting them with businesses operating in the area.
19 year old Hezakiah (Hez) Williams from Parsons Cross had completed a BTEC qualification in construction but found himself unable to break into the industry he loved. He contacted Skills Made Easy and they arranged a two week work trial for him with the NM Group.
During the trial, when he was overseen by qualified and experienced personnel, Hez had the opportunity to work on the renewal of the streetscape around the University buildings. He performed well and with commitment, successfully passing his trial.
He is still in the employment of the NM Group and has since been involved in numerous construction activities to assist in the project’s progress including groundworks, drainage, paving preparation and kerbing. Further arrangements are underway to provide Hez with additional skills training through NM Academy – the company’s learning and development programme
Chris Davis, N M Group’s construction site manager on the project said:
“We are really pleased with the progress that Hez has made in the short time he has been working for us. He has shown a real aptitude for learning a variety of construction principles in a live project environment and a keen enthusiasm for developing new skills. I am confident that Hez will become a valuable asset to the team and this would not have been possible without Skills Made Easy.”
Laura Hayfield, programme manager, Skills Made Easy said:
“Work trials give individuals like Hez, who have found it difficult to secure a career in their chosen sector, a chance to gain experience and illustrate to employers what they can bring to the business. Hez had wanted work in the construction industry but since leaving school he had struggled to secure a permanent role. He has impressed his new employers with his skills and genuine interest in the sector and his commitment has enabled him to continue to develop new skills with the NM Group.”
“For employers work trials help them ensure that the person they are recruiting fits in well with their existing workforce and has the aptitude to succeed.”
Skills Made Easy is a free of charge service which offers impartial, tailored advice to small and medium sized businesses based in the Sheffield City Region. The service helps employers to overcome skills shortages in the workforce which could be impacting on growth and to access Government grants to cover the cost of training. The service is delivered free of charge to all businesses based in the Sheffield City Region, employing fewer than 250 members of staff. For more information, visit www.skillsmadeeasy.org.uk or telephone 0114 229 6183.