Having being made redundant in May 2020 after 17 years working in retail, 34-year-old Jamie Turner took advantage of the college’s sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) and signed up for a free construction plant operative training scheme. 

Jamie said: “I was told about the course by my Job Centre adviser and because it’s free it was a weight off my shoulders knowing that I hadn’t got to pay to retrain. 

Phase one of the course focusses on brickwork, block paving, concreting and underground pipework and, once Ive completed it, I can progress to phase two which covers groundworks and driving and operating small plant machinery. 

The two go hand-in-hand and I’ll have more skills to offer and more chance of securing a job on a construction site. 

“The workshops are set up to be mindful of social distancing and there are good systems in place to keep us safe, including wrist bands than ‘beep’ of you get too close to anyone else. 

“At the end of the course we are guaranteed an interview with an industry employer which is great as getting an interview is usually a huge hurdle to get over and I feel much better in myself knowing that Ive got the potential of a job and can start earning again. 

“It’s been a complete career change for me but I’m up for learning something new –  if you stick to one thing you’ve got limited options so it’s definitely worth giving it a go.