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Three unemployed learners have walked straight into jobs, and five more equipped with the skills to find work, thanks to a pilot course offering a step-up into the scaffolding industry.

The short programme, delivered by NETA Training, was funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority’s devolved Adult Education Budget, with the aim of helping get people back into work.

Working alongside Stockton-based employer, JMAC Scaffolding Ltd, the eight-day programme came with an interview, with three jobs up for grabs.  Liam Bates, 29, Dean Bishop, 31, and Dylan Frost, 21, have now started work in the scaffolding yard as trainee scaffolders.

NETA’s managing director Phil Blewitt said: “We are proud to have supported these learners with the help of JMAC Scaffolding and Tees Valley Combined Authority in gaining valuable skills and industry recognised qualifications to help them build their careers. To have three students go straight into employment is a positive outcome and we aim to build on this success.”

The bespoke Access to Scaffolding programme offered the chance to pick up a selection of industry qualifications and skills including the CCNSG National Safety Passport, Scaffolding COTS, Scaffolding Appreciation, Scaffolding Mobile Towers, Confined Space (Entry, Awareness and Escape), Mental Health First Aid and Emergency First Aid at Work.

Liam Bates, from Stockton, signed up to the course after being made redundant due to the impact of Covid 19. It was a friend who suggested he try scaffolding.

He said: “I had never considered it before, but I have worked in heavy industry, so it appealed to me.” 

Signing up to the NETA course in the hope of getting his site safety cards, he said: “I never expected to get a job out of it, especially in these times.”

Dean Bishop from Middlesbrough said: “The job centre put me forward for the course. I have a lot of friends who work in scaffolding. This is something I should have done years ago, but better late than never!”

Dylan Frost, also from Middlesbrough, said: “I didn’t know about the interviews until I started the course but even then, I didn’t think I would be chosen. I have never had luck like that.”

Luis McCarthy, managing director of JMAC, said: “To be able to take on staff in the middle of a pandemic is fantastic both for us as a company and for the wider area. Hopefully, these are roles that will progress with the opportunity to become fully trained scaffolders. With the support of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and programmes like the government’s Kickstart scheme we hope there may be further opportunities.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This course and its outcome shows that our devolved adult education budget – that we’ve got as a result of our deal with Government and having an elected mayor – is making a direct impact on people’s lives.

“With my plan for jobs we are seeing good quality, well-paid jobs being created across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. With our Adult Education Budget, we are targeting our funding to make sure our businesses have the skills they need to grow and people across the region can gain the expertise they need to find a career right here.

“It’s always great to hear about the people who these schemes have helped, and I wish Liam, Dean and Dylan all the best for the future!”

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