A group of Cornish job seekers, enrolled on a construction skills course through Prospects, has been inspired to continue helping with remodelling a children's respite centre for a local charity.
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Through a partnership between Prospects, Cornwall College's Work Skills Training Academy and Jobcentre Plus, people searching for work are given the opportunity to gain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Over four weeks, learners are taught the theory they need to complete the course before taking part in a community-based construction project to gain hands-on experience.
The most recent cohort from the Liskeard area has been working on a retreat for children and their families in need of respite, Ellie's Haven, in Duloe. Ellie's Haven is being created by Nigel and Julie Libby in memory of their daughter, Ellie, who passed away last year just before her seventh birthday after being born with a rare brain disorder.
During their time at Ellie's Haven the group of learners cleared the garden of rubbish and bushes, erected two signs to mark the location of the house, stripped walls and jet washed the driveway.
Karley Keast, 23, from Liskeard, has offered to continue volunteering on the redevelopment project. He said, "I've never actually started something and finished it, so I get the sense I've really achieved something with this project. I've been a builder but not with official qualifications. I've offered to carry on helping with the project because I've got two kids of my own. They don't have the needs Ellie had but I can relate to what it might be like if they did. It'll give me experience."
Holly Findlay, Prospects Operations Manager, Cornwall, said, "At Prospects Cornwall, 'up-skill and pay back' is our motto. It has been great for our Work Programme customers to be able to put this into action by using existing skills and gaining new ones to contribute to a local community project, Ellie's Haven, which supports disabled children. We work in partnership with the local college to up-skill customers and provide them with hands on, real experience of building work, enabling them to undertake qualifications and gain a CSCS card. The CSCS card allows them to undertake work on any construction site.
Following completion of the course, the business development team sources suitable jobs for customers to go straight into with new confidence, skills and qualifications!"