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Building a brighter future with an apprenticeship

11 February, 2022

This National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 February), we’ve celebrated the positive impact that apprenticeships can have on young people.

Salix Homes runs a successful apprenticeship, work experience and training programme which has seen many success stories over the years.

For people like 19-year old Max Healey, it’s been life-changing.

Max, began a Groundwork apprenticeship with Cheadle-based civil engineering firm last April.

His journey to his first apprenticeship has not been an easy one, but thanks to perseverance and support from Salix Homes and Salford Foundation, he has finally achieved his dream of working in the construction sector.

Back in 2016, when Max was in Year 9, he took part in a project run by Salix Homes to help refurbish a disused community room at our tower block Oakhill Court in Broughton.

The group of six students spent one day each week on-site assisting our repairs staff with the renovations. The work included stripping out the existing fixtures and fittings, fitting new kitchens and bathrooms, tiling and decorating.

It was this work experience at a young age that first inspired Max to set his sights on a career in construction.

Jackie Crook, work and skills manager at Salix Homes, said: “For most of them it was their first hands-on experience of construction. At the time, Max didn’t really know what he wanted to do in the future, but he really enjoyed the physical aspects of the project and it was this experience that encouraged him to pursue a career in construction, and we’ve been pleased to support him along the way.”

When Max left school in 2019, he undertook a few short-term roles in construction before he  signed up to do a Level 2 diploma in Joinery at Salford City College. He quickly realised it wasn’t for him and when lockdown hit in March 2020, he decided he did not want to return to the course.

Later that year, Max’s mum contacted Jackie to see if we could help him get his career back on track.

She said:  “I wanted to know if there was anything available that would help him find work in the construction industry. By this time Max had been out of work and education for almost six months and I was getting very concerned about his wellbeing.”

Salix Homes was able to support Max to secure a place on a ‘Construct Your Future’ course, which is for 16-18-year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEET). The course is delivered by Salford Foundation and the Build Salford Consortium – a local construction traineeship, which Salix Homes supports.

Max joined the course and never looked back  achieving a range of qualifications and new skills including a Health and Safety Level 1 qualification and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. He successfully completed the course and continued to be supported by both Salford Foundation and Salix Homes to find work. 

Jackie said: “Even after a couple of unsuccessful applications, Max was determined that he wouldn’t give up on his goals of working in construction. In April 2021, alongside Julie Baker at Keepmoat, supported him to apply for a Groundwork Apprenticeship with Chandos, one of our partner  subcontractors working on a Keepmoat development in Charlestown.

“We were thrilled to hear that he was successful, as this is what he has wanted since he was in Year 9.  He started work for them at the end of April last year and he hasn’t looked back since. Max is an example of what can happen when you put your mind to something and have the right support around you.

 “Max’s manager is really pleased with his progress. He reports that he is really hard-working and conscientious and even though he gets a lot of stick because he is the youngest on-site, he has settled into the team really well- and gives and good as he gets.

We’ve had amazing feedback from Max’s mum too. She texted me to say me that Max absolutely loves his job. He is like a different lad and can’t thank Salix Homes, Julie Baker and Salford Foundation enough.  Without our support, she really doesn’t know where he would be and thanked us so much for not giving up on him.”

To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities in Salford visit: https://www.salford.gov.uk/jobs-skills-and-work/apprenticeship-support/are-you-a-resident/