Build a new future for armed forces veterans

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A life-changing initiative for service leavers and veterans has held its first graduation ceremony.

Street Works which is part of the college’s Build North East programme equips individuals with a broad range of trade skills, helping to prepare them for a career in the construction sector.

Last week saw graduation day for 8 building heroes who successfully completed a five-week custom-designed civil engineering highways course, alongside a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card that allows them to go straight in to work on a site.

Recent graduate Stephen Riches is delighted with his experience on the course: “The course is really fast paced and intense but achievable because of the fantastic support you get from the tutors. Going onto site and putting the theoretical skills into practice has been a great grounding for my new career. The course has helped me to secure a number of interviews and I’m hopeful that one of these opportunities will lead to employment in the near future.”

The programme is delivered by Gateshead College in partnership with infrastructure solutions provider, Costain, and charity Building Heroes and is one of the only such courses available country.

Joanna Hitchen, Costain social value and EDI lead for highways, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be working in the North East with Building Heroes and our partners and supply chain to help improve people’s lives. Providing skills and employment benefits not only the individuals involved but also the wider community and our industry, creating a lasting legacy from major infrastructure projects.”

Leading the graduation ceremony, David Alexander, Principal and CEO of Gateshead College said: “Our ethos is all about giving learners employment edge. This bespoke course is designed to do just that, by equipping learners with work ready skills and connecting them with employment opportunities. It’s fantastic to have a company like Costain invested in this initiative and we’re immensely proud of the role we play in helping to reskill and redeploy those who have kept us safe.”

Building Heroes is a charity dedicated to service leavers, veterans, reservists and military families.

Mon Jan 30 2023