The Build Up programme places 6,000th and 6,001st ‘Learners into Work’ with leading North West construction company

A B&FC (Blackpool & The Fylde College) programme ‘Build Up’ that helps long-term unemployed people with training and employment in the construction industry has reached a major milestone by placing its 6,000th and 6,001st learners into work with leading building firm Eric Wright Construction.

Two local men – Robert Peterson and Neil Barker – who have both been seeking work for some time, have gained employment with Eric Wright Construction following completion of the Build Up programme, which has supported and prepared them for their return to work.

Robert Peterson, 44, will be working as a gateman/vehicle banksman at the new 48-place Lotus School at Mereside, which will cater for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. Neil Barker, 45, will perform a similar role at Pegasus School on Bathhurst Avenue where Eric Wright Special Projects is building an extension providing four new classrooms and refurbishing two existing classrooms.

B&FC Build Up is an award-winning and dedicated business unit, which is part of Blackpool and The Fylde College and is run in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, and employers in the building sector.

The unit is a stand-alone centre on Kincraig Road, Bispham and is supported by the B&FC School of Construction in the nearby main Bispham Campus. Build Up also supports local contractors and tradesmen in obtaining their CSCS* certification.

B&FC Build Up manager Roberta Austin, MBE, is delighted at reaching this milestone and comments: “Achieving 6,000 learners into work has been hard work for the team at Build Up. We have worked extremely hard over the last 11 years to hit this goal and will continue to work with all contractors and agencies to secure more jobs for our local people.”

Eric Wright Group has partnered with Build Up for several years and over this time has provided jobs to a number of local people.

Commenting on the 6,000th placement Stephen Knowles, head of special projects at the company, said: “Placing Robert and Neil into work continues our long association with Blackpool Build Up and we are proud to contribute to placing local people into jobs.

“The Lotus School is especially important as it is the first of its kind for Blackpool and means that local children with special educational needs can be taught in their home town and not have to travel outside of the Borough.”

Learners join the Build Up programme following a referral from Job Centres across the Fylde Coast and from employability and coaching programmes. They need to be over 19, in receipt of benefits and wanting to work in the construction industry.

Each undertakes five weeks of training as a general construction operative, obtaining a CSCS* card and a certificate in Health and Safety. The course includes an introduction to working in construction and leads to Level 1 qualifications in a range of practical skills including groundwork, brickwork, painting and decorating, and plastering and tiling, along with training to improve a learner’s employment prospects.

Read more about the ‘Build Up’ programme here: https://www.blackpool.ac.uk/buildup

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