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09 February 2022

Hire apprentices to build and maintain homes fit for the future

Hire apprentices to build and maintain homes fit for the future

There is a greater need for safe, affordable and net-zero homes. For these to be built and maintained to a high standard across Wales, employees in the housing sector may need to learn new skills so they can meet the demand. One of the key ways of ensuring this is through apprenticeship schemes.

Apprenticeships are becoming widely recognised as opportunities that are vital for Wales’ future economy. The Welsh government has recently announced it’s investing £366 million over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships, in addition to significant funding set aside to decarbonise homes.

Obstacles

The investment announced above may alleviate some of the challenges the sector faces when it comes to delivering safe and affordable housing. In the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’ analysis published in May 2021, Wales TUC says that as much as 60,000 ‘green’ jobs would need to be created by the end of this year alone, if the country was to be on track in achieving key net-zero targets. But without sufficient support from the government, the housing sector could struggle to meet the demand and scale, with too few people with the skills required to build for the future.

Despite this, our members are playing a significant role in delivering apprenticeships that are in line with the goals shared by housing organisations up-and-down the country: by implementing an ambitious retrofitting programme, fewer people will be in fuel poverty, the NHS would be under less strain, and reduce the potentially devastating impact of climate change.

Skills for life

Tom (pictured above) joined Tai Tarian in 2016 on a two-year multi-skilled apprenticeship, working on the major refurbishment of its Tŷ Gnoll Newydd Haven scheme, turning old bedsits into modern, comfortable apartments for our older residents. He was working alongside four other apprentices, learning a whole range of trades such as plumbing, carpentry, plastering and bricklaying.

Over the years, he continued learning his trades, working across other properties, under the watchful eye of experienced inspectors. Then after two years of hard work, Tom became a fully qualified multi-skilled operative., after which he continued his career at Tai Tarian, renovating empty properties, getting them ready for new occupants.

After four years in that role, Tom decided he needed a new challenge and late last year he became a trainee inspector. The new role will require him to get to grips with a whole new ‘trade’ in how to supervise work and manage staff.

Tom said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship with Tai Tarian. I learnt so much about carpentry, plumbing, plastering and bricklaying. Just as importantly, I also learnt a lot of life skills and social skills too.

“It certainly stood me in good stead and gave me a firm base to go on and develop my career which I’m now doing by training to become an inspector.

“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone looking for a way into work, whether that’s in the building trade or in any other walk of life. You’ll acquire skills you’ll remember for life, meet people and get paid whilst you learn, which is an added bonus.”

7-13 February 2022 is National Apprenticeship Week.