Having always had an interest in construction, 35-year-old Luke Risbey signed up for a plant operative and groundworks sector-based work academy programme  (SWAP) after being made redundant in November 2020. 

Jamie said: “Being unemployed is tough but the course has got me motivated again, improved my confidence and is preparing me to go back to work. 

I’m currently on phase one of the programme and have learnt a lot about brickwork – including the correct way to laying to the line, levelling and jointing, – as well as soil drainage which was interesting as you don’t really think about how it works! 

It’s a really relaxed way of learning and the tutors are very knowledgeable – they give us advice on what we should do, and other tutors from the construction department who aren’t involved with the course often pop in and give us hints and tips to improve our knowledge further. 

“The Covid safety measures that are in place are good and we can get tested regularly which is a real bonus, and having a guaranteed interview at the end of the course is brilliant – I’m excited about it and ready to start again!”