“I’m absolute proof that these courses work!”, said 31-year-old Nathon Kerr who completed a free part-time groundworks sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) at the college and has now been taken on by the organisation to train others on the same course!”
Nathon, who was unemployed after being made redundant from his job in a factory, signed up for the course in February 2020 to re-train and gain the skills and knowledge to carry out groundworks and use plant machinery on construction sites.
The course covers brickwork, block paving, concreting, underground pipework and groundworks, as well as driving and operating small plant machinery with students able to gain their CPCS red trained operator card which demonstrates that they have the level of skills, knowledge and understanding to work in the construction industry.
As well as gaining skills himself, Nathon was keen to help others on the course and his commitment to learning and supporting fellow students so impressed tutors that when a vacancy for a groundworks trainer became available he was encouraged to apply for the post and was offered the job.
Nathon said: “After being made redundant I’d been on Universal Credit for two years and was at a point in my life where I wanted a proper career.
“Doing the course was the first step to getting a job in the construction industry and gave me a lot of confidence – and when I was offered the job at college it was a huge boost.
“I never saw myself in a teaching role but it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It’s amazing to see students developing skills during the course and to know that I have played a part in their journey to employment.
“To go from being on benefits to a full-time teaching position in just two years is fantastic and, with a secure job, I’ve been able to start paying off the debts I accrued when I was unemployed and to start building the life I want for myself and my family.”