Taster day shows how to build a new career in construction in Llandudno

A housing association has given people looking to build a career in the construction industry a chance to see how they measure up to the job.

Cartrefi Conwy Construction taster session at the Construction taster session at the Ty Llywelyn Community Centre Llandudno. Pictured is Plasterer Daryl Brackenbury, Plumber Mike Millership, Brick layer Paul Kenyon and Joiner Mark Lloyd from Llandrillo college .

Cartrefi Conwy is currently working on a £340,000 scheme to facelift the exterior of flats and maisonettes on the Tre Cwm estate in Llandudno.

As part of its commitment to give added benefits to its tenants, the housing association hosted a special showcase event at the Ty Llywelyn Community Centre providing people with taste of what it’s like to work in the world of construction.

Cartrefi Conwy arranged the late afternoon session with the help of its partners, Coleg Llandrillo and Colwyn Bay-based G. Purchase Construction Ltd, which is the contractor for the Tre Cwm renovation scheme.

For two hours the community centre was transformed into a mini construction site as a team of workshop supervisors from Coleg Llandrillo gave hands-on displays of the various trades associated with construction including carpentry, bricklaying, plumbing, plastering and painting and decorating.

Owen Veldhuisen, Senior Tenant Engagement Officer for Cartrefi Conwy, explained how the successful taster session, which was the pilot for similar events in the future, was put together.

He said: “As part of a wider, five-year improvement programme costing £3.4 million, Cartrefi Conwy is currently involved in a £340,000 scheme to upgrade the exteriors of properties on our Tre Cwm estate.

“This involves work being done on the outside of flats and maisonettes, including the provision of new guttering and fascias and flooring in the patio areas.

“We have a commitment to bringing added benefits to any work like this that we do in terms of training, apprenticeships and work experience.

“The construction taster day at the Ty Llywelyn Community Centre was arranged as part of this and we have worked closely on it with our partners from Coleg Llandrillo and G. Purchase Construction.

“The aim was to invite along anyone of working age from the local area with an interest in the construction industry, either young people looking for training or someone a little older considering a change of job.

“The taster day, which went very well, was very much a pilot project and, using the experience gained from it, we will arrange similar events in the future.

“We want to give something back to the community we serve and if we can get someone on to a college course or into a job that’s part of our ethos.”

Among those who benefitted from the taster day was 31-year-old Eddie Connor from Llandudno.

He came along early to the event after learning about it from one of the leaflets put out locally by Cartrefi Conwy and was shown the basics of bricklaying by one of the experts from Coleg Llandrillo.

Taking a break from trowel techniques, Eddie said: “I live locally, so I thought I’d come and give it a try. I’m glad that I did because it was very useful.

“At the moment I’m working as a newspaper delivery driver but am looking for something that’s a little more challenging.

“I’ve always wanted to get into the construction business. My aim is to become a multi-skilled tradesman doing a variety of jobs such as bricklaying, plastering and plumbing. Eventually I’d like to work for myself.

“The taster session was great because you don’t usually get the chance to come to events like this where you can have a look at all the trades together and also actually try your hand at them.”

Eddie was being guided through the bricklaying process by 38-year-old Paul Kenyon, one of the workshop supervisors from Coleg Llandrillo.

He said: “I teach a one-year building crafts foundation course which takes in all the construction trades.

“I’ve done taster sessions like this in college but this is the first time I’ve done one at an outside venue and I’ve enjoyed it very much.

“It’s been good to have the chance to give people like Eddie an insight into the industry and hopefully interest them enough to try to get into it.

“Construction can be a good and decently-paid career for life. There’s a shortage of bricklayers at the moment simply because not enough people are considering it as a job. Hopefully, this sort of event will help to change that situation.”

Steve Walker, Project Manager on the Tre Cwm facelift scheme for G.Purchase Construction Ltd who was at the taster day, said: “It’s been a first class event which we were proud to be involved in.

“It’s given people an opportunity to get a proper feel for what it’s like to work in construction and there was a cross-section of all the construction trades on show.

“We have a great relationship with Coleg Llandrillo and we’re grateful to them for arranging for their supervisors to get involved with the taster day, which we hope will help spread the word about what a good industry construction can be.”

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