Meeting new apprentices in Hornsey (with audio clip)

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I met Maureen, a construction industry apprentice, learning bricklaying, plastering and other skills at the new Building Lives Training Academy in Hornsey, N8.  We talked – about jobs, about opportunities for women in construction and about being mums - and I was inspired by her can-do, practical attitude.  Listen to a short clip from our conversation and hear what she has to say.

Building Lives is a fantastic social business, providing high quality paid apprenticeships to young people and those who want to retrain, or return to work – and then helping its graduates find a real job in the industry, with careers advice and through partnerships with commercial companies. 

At Hornsey's new Building Lives Academy in Hornsey 50 local people have become apprentices and will learn their trades working on our Homes for Haringey social housing sites.

Hornsey has the highest youth unemployment in the whole of Haringey and apprenticeship programmes like this are much needed there.  70% of those currently signed up with the Academy live in Haringey, with people living in nearby London boroughs making up the rest.

Big construction firms Mullaley (as mentioned by Maureen in the clip) and KeepMoat have both promised to take on 25 apprentices as part of the Hornsey scheme. Hats off to them for this, although by the look of the energetic apprentices I met, the firms will be getting a good deal.

Building Lives is the brainchild of Steve Rawlings, CEO of £300m construction and energy services company Lakehouse.  40 years ago Steve left school with no qualifications and started work in the East End as an apprentice roofer.  As he grew and developed Lakehouse he noticed that about half of social housing tenants were three generations unemployed.  He started Building Lives in 2010 to try to do something about this. 

Our Hornsey apprenticeship programme, run by Building Lives in partnership with the Council’s Homes for Haringey is London’s sixth Training Academy.  Labour’s Haringey Councillors Alan Strickland, our Cabinet member for Regeneration and Housing and Hornsey Ward representatives Adam Jogee and Jennifer Mann have all supported the initiative.

The photos show our Hornsey Building Lives apprentices demonstrating their skills after receiving skills training with tutors from Harrow College at the Academy’s centre in Eastfield Road, N8.  I spoke with two of the tutors and was really impressed by their commitment to the apprentices and their work.

I would like to see many more well-planned apprenticeship programmes, that really lead somewhere, in our area. It is real opportunities and real jobs that make the difference for local people.

We must encourage many more local employers to take on apprentices, train them properly and offer a real chance of a job.

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