Mother from Cardigan makes career change thanks to Onsite Hub
An aspiring joiner, Willow Kehily, has taken her first steps towards a rewarding new career in the construction industry thanks to an Onsite Hub placement with Wynne Construction at its Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi site.
The mother-of-one from Cardigan, Ceredigion, completed her 10-day placement with the Bodelwyddan-based construction firm as it continues its expansion of the Cardigan secondary school – which conveniently for Willow, is just a 10-minute walk from her home.
Following redundancy from her job in retail, Willow decided to make a career change by undertaking the level 1 Carpentry and Joinery diploma at Coleg Ceredigion’s Cardigan Campus, which is where she also learned about the Onsite Hub placement scheme.
Willow had previously completed a degree in psychology but decided to go back into education and re-skill in a completely new direction, following her interest in joinery and carpentry.
Willow Kehily, Onsite Hub trainee, explained:
“I’m pursuing a career in joinery as I want a role with increased security, stability, and one which will allow me to develop a skillset to support myself and my son long-term.
“My son is at the age where he doesn’t think twice about my occupation. It’s important to me that he continues to see his mum in a strong role and represented in a particularly male-dominated industry.”
Though Willow had spent long hours in the classroom learning the theory of her chosen trade, her Onsite Hub placement was her first opportunity to put it into practice in a genuine work setting.
The experience has left her positive that she has made the right choice. As she explained: “Working on the school has been a major milestone in my career, as it is my first go at the job and after only a few days on the site, I was 100 percent sold on the career path.”
“In college you learn the basics, which are obviously fundamental, but seeing how the skills developed in the classroom play out practically and getting a taste for life on site has been brilliant alongside the team at Wynne.
“Days might be fast paced, but I was never made to feel like my questions were too time consuming, and the team really took the time to offer guidance at every step. Nothing was ever too much trouble for anyone at Wynne.”
Willow is one of many Onsite Construction Hub placements which have been facilitated by Wynne Construction across its sites. Looking forward, the company’s Wynne Futures Foundation aims to provide more than 100 work experience placements and 250 apprenticeships by 2025 – an aim we applaud, here at Cyfle.
Alison Hourihane, Social Value Manager, Wynne Construction, said:
“Encouraging onsite experience at an early career stage and making it more readily available can inspire underrepresented groups to pursue a career in the industry and safeguard the construction sector for years to come.
“Willow is a brilliant example of how providing these opportunities may help those interested in construction re-skill and find out what they truly enjoy, which has the added benefit of boosting employment locally and widening the pool of talent we work with.”
Anthony Rees, our Regional Manager, added:
“People in the early stages of their training rarely get this kind of work experience before taking on an apprenticeship, so managing this scheme has allowed more young people to develop essential skills, which is ultimately what we are here for.
“As well as satellite centres in colleges, we try to reach all corners of the community by working closely with people in social housing and those who are unemployed to help them kick-start a career in the industry.
“It’s a win-win situation; people in the local area don’t have to look far for valuable experience, and contractors building in the region can access nearby talent for its supply chain.”
Here at Cyfle, we extend our thanks to Wynne Construction for its ongoing support of the Onsite Hub scheme and wish Willow every success in her newly chosen career.
The onsite hub scheme is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Onsite Experience Commission, with delivery taking place across the five local authority areas within the region: Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.
The programme is coordinated by us, here at Cyfle Building Skills, and offers onsite construction experience, reskilling and associated training opportunities to individuals. A mentoring programme is also included, designed to help individuals take the next step into a career in construction, and ensure they gain the maximum benefit from the onsite experience.
The programme is open to individuals of any age (over 16 years) considering a career in construction either as a first job or by retraining from a different profession. It seeks to promote social mobility and provide opportunities to those under-represented within the industry, as well as those not currently in education, employment or training (NEET).
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