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SWH National Skills Academy for Construction offers meaningful Work Experience Placements in Construction

South West Highways Ltd has joined forces with a local organisation (Pluss) that supports people with disabilities to achieve work by delivering meaningful work experience placements

The Challenge:

As part of SWH’s National Skills Academy for Construction Programme we have committed to providing meaningful work placements to support candidates from disadvantaged groups who are struggling to find work in the construction industry.

Anna Cooper, the Project Skills Co-ordinator driving the National Skills Academy for Construction at SWH, has formed a strong partnership with a local organisation called Pluss. Pluss is a Social Enterprise that works with more than 5000 disabled people each year to help them find and succeed in the career of their choice. Pluss run a Work Choice Programme – This is an employment programme that supports people with disabilities to prepare for, find and stay in work. Work Experience Placements are extremely difficult to find but are invaluable to the individuals. Getting a job is one of the most important things that anyone will ever do in life. It offers so much more than just a wage, important though it is. It offers a reason to get up in the morning, a sense of well-being and an opportunity to participate in full society. Yet looking for work is not always easy, particularly for people with a disability or health condition. 

The Response:

Mike Bray Works Manager for SWH has been very helpful in Supporting Anna Cooper by offering a variety of Work Placement opportunities in the Torrington, Okehampton & Tavistock Depots. Initially Anna Cooper set up meetings with Pluss to discuss the placements in further detail. Following this meeting, many CV’s were submitted from individuals with a keen interest in working within the Construction Industry. After discussions with advisors, decisions were made as to who would be suitable and benefit the most from this placement. Jeff Garroway was chosen for the placement. A meeting with Mike Bray and his advisor took place prior to the work experience which enabled Jeff to meet the team he would be working with and gain a better understanding of the company and role.

The Results:

Jeffrey Garroway has been supported by Pluss for many years. He started an 8 week unpaid Work Placement at SWH on 12th May 2014 as a Yardman in the Great Torrington Depot. At the end of this placement Jeff has successfully been offered a permanent role with SWH. He will be supported by plus for the next 6 months on a Traineeship. They will fund and provide any relevant training required for the job during this period. After 6 months, Jeff will be employed directly by SWH.

Charlotte Williams Employer Engagement Specialist, Pluss said, “Pluss have been supporting Jeff for a number of years, both in his previous employed role and more recently supporting him to secure new employement with SWH. Jeff has benefitted from a work experience placement with SWH to give him an opportunity to learn new skills and experiences, a completely new working environment for him. Jeff’s confidence and self-esteem has blossomed and he has relished every aspect of his placement”.

Mike Bray Works Manager, SWH said, “Jeff has become a valued member of the team and has fitted in very well. It has been a pleasure to have him working with us. It is great news that we are able to offer him a permanent position.”

Jeffery Galloway, said, “Pluss has helped me to get work with the right company who accepts me for who I am. Now I’ve got a job I am much more confident because of the new skills I have”.

Anna Cooper PSC, SWH said, “I have always believed that working with disabled people is a great thing. Working with Pluss has proved this. We have had several work experiences take place and so far this is the first one to successfully result in a permanent role with SWH. I would like to thank Mike Bray for all his support and the opportunities he has provided so far”.

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