Meet construction trainees

Many Londoners have already taken part in our construction skills programme and here are some of their stories.

Shakara Brown

Age: 23
Training Programme: Women into Construction
What were you doing before the training?
Before joining the scheme, I had tried working in the industry previously as a trainee dryliner/supervisor on a different project, but felt I wanted to do something more management-related. I wanted to explore my options, which led me to leave the industry. I was unemployed when this opportunity came up.
How did you find out about the training opportunity and what interested you about it?
I was made aware of the training by word of mouth and was interested in the sound of the Women into Construction programme due to my previous experience.
I had always been interested in construction and thought that this opportunity would allow me to explore options around working in the more office-based roles that are available in construction that I hadn’t really been aware of before.
What training did you do?
I took part in our 4-week Women into Construction programme that included information on health and safety, different construction trades and general construction behaviours, as well as my CSCS card. It also included help a 2-week work experience placement and help with my CV and preparing me for interview.
I also took part in a Traffic Marshall course to broaden my knowledge.
What happened after you completed the training?   
I applied for one of the opportunities listed on the TfL portal for an Apprentice Projects Admin Officer with Morgan Sindall on the TfL Barking Riverside Extension Project and was successful.
What Difference has the training made to your life?
The opportunity allowed me to be able to see a view outside of my every day South London view which I found exciting. It also enabled me the opportunity to gain practical work experience, with a full-time salary and tangible qualifications in my new apprenticeship.
What would you like to do in the future with your training?
I would like to continue to work in the industry and become more experienced in my current role and explore my options around project management.
How would you sum up the experience?
Today, I still feel very excited about construction. I love what I do and I am happy to share my knowledge and skills with others. I am getting to interact with all the opportunities that were once just in my imagination.

Walid Razany

Age: 26
Training Programme: Introduction to Groundworks
What were you doing before the training?
I was working in McDonalds and felt that I wasn’t making enough money and that it was a dead-end job with no prospects. I was aware that I was working with people a lot younger than me who did not take the role seriously. I realised that the role was not for me, but I had bills to pay. I didn’t want to do a long-term college course, so thought my options were limited.
How did you find out about the training opportunity and what interested you about it?
I was in care when I was younger and my old adviser called me to find out how I was doing. I mentioned that I was not enjoying retail and I ideally wanted to work in construction.  My advisor had been made aware of the TfL construction courses being run in East London and asked if I would be interested.
I received a call from TfL’s East London Skills Manager who told me about the training and allayed any fears I had about studying. They reassured me that the course was doable and would open up the door to the kind of opportunity I was looking for.  The fact that the course was 2 weeks and gave me my CSCS card, Health and Safety training and was employer-led really appealed to me.
What training did you do?
I took part in the Groundwork training programme. This covered the basics around groundwork and how to carry it out, the Health, Safety and Environment test along with CSCS card.  Site hazards and procedures were also covered along with substance misuse and site inductions. The course also gave me advice on my CV, timekeeping, interviews and general work behaviours.
What happened after you completed the training?  
I was put forward for various roles in East London and originally started work as a labourer but I wasn’t too keen on this role. I was then told about another opportunity for the Olympic Park working with Balfour Beatty as a Hod Carrier and so I’ve moved on to here.
What difference has the training made to your life?
Since passing the course, I feel that anything is possible – especially as I passed the course with flying colours. This has led me to see everything as being achievable as long as I put in the work. I am now more outgoing and always up for the opportunity to grow my skills and I have much more self-belief.
What would you like to do in the future with your training?
I would like to become a crane driver and I’ve started to explore my options around this. I plan to make sure I have gained this qualification and the experience needed before I’m 30.
How would you sum up the experience?
The programme has changed my life! Working in construction was my ultimate goal and this programme has set me up for life. I am now earning more than good money, but not only that, I can see my long-term future and the path I’m going to take.
Also, the course has filled me with confidence and passing the tests with flying colours has really changed my mindset to one where I feel I can achieve anything.
I know I want to work as crane driver in the long term and have spoken to my employers about this, who are happy to help support this.
I really want to say thank you!