A group of 12 unemployed people from Pembrokeshire have taken the first steps to securing a job in the engineering construction industry after beginning a Trainee Maintenance Operative Work Ready Programme.

The cohort, aged 18 and over, will gain recognised industry skills and accredited qualifications as part of a 16-week programme, with 12 guaranteed job roles at the end.

On successful completion of the programme, they will secure jobs with Altrad Services and be deployed on the Valero Refinery in Pembroke.

Work Ready is a collaborative and co-funded partnership between the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), a college or training provider, local employers and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The Pembrokeshire programme is being delivered by Pembrokeshire College and Providence Training and is co-funded by the Welsh Government and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda.

They have been developed to create a pipeline of new entrants and help address skills gaps in the engineering construction industry, with the ECITB’s Labour Forecasting Tool predicting a 28% increase in demand for workers by 2028.

ECITB Chief Executive Andrew Hockey said: “The pilot Work Ready programme in Pembrokeshire in 2023 was a big success with all learners who completed the programme gaining employment. It shows the real benefits of adopting a collaborative approach.

“The Pembrokeshire programme further demonstrates the steps the ECITB is taking to grow capacity within the industry and I wish learners the best of luck on their journey to securing jobs with Altrad.”

Pembrokeshire Learner Megan Beckerleg
Pembrokeshire Learner Megan Beckerleg (Pic supplied)

Referrals for the Work Ready programmes came via DWP’s Jobcentres, with unemployed candidates being put forward for interview.

As well as being introduced to skills related to health and safety, rigging and mechanical joint integrity, the programme also involves learners achieving a Level 2 Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations or equivalent qualification.

Pembrokeshire College Principal Dr Barry Walters added: “It’s great that industry, Pembrokeshire College and the ECITB are once again working together to get individuals into work. This programme has been tailored to meet the requirements of industry and fill the gaps in the workforce.

“The 16-week programme represents a fantastic opportunity for the cohort to be directly recruited to work with Altrad upon successful completion.

“The engineering industry is thriving in Pembrokeshire and we are delighted to be part of a programme that provides these opportunities to those looking to upskill and gain employment.”