Search

Unemployed learn the trade at Harold Wood workshop

09:00 01 June 2014

Harry Comb, 25, is now in full-time employment after finishing his plastering course

Harry Comb, 25, is now in full-time employment after finishing his plastering course

Archant

Unemployed people are being offered a new lease of life as trade workers thanks to an innovative training company.

Manager Jean Thomson and owner Rob BottenManager Jean Thomson and owner Rob Botten

Specialist Trade Courses, based in Church Road, Harold Wood, run courses in plastering, painting and decorating, carpentry and tiling, and work with Job Centre Plus to take on out-of-work hopefuls.

The hands-on sessions usually last between two to four weeks, and equip people with the skills needed to move into employment.

Owner Rob Rotten and manager Jean Thomson moved the business to the area last October from Harlow, and now receive 75 per cent of their business through Job Centre Plus (JCP) referrals.

“Three years ago it was the other way around,” said Rob. “But because of the recession and people being out of work, we get about 60-80 people per month now.

“A lot of them have interest in one of the skill sets. The courses are very practical.”

About 95 per cent of the clients go into work after finishing their courses, according to Jean, one of which is 25-year-old Harry Comb of Romford.

“I was out of work for two years - a long time.” said the former Sanders School student and father-of-three. “My advisor said about the course so I gave it a go. I had done a bit of roofing before and had an interest in the building trade.

“The staff were really supportive and friendly, it was good.”

Harry was fast-tracked onto a traineeship with Havering Council contractors Willmott Dixon, working on the Prospect Place project in Collier Row.

He is now in full-time employment.

“I was knackered after my first day,” he admitted. “I was eased in for two hours, and then straight in. I’m really enjoying it, I have a laugh.

“I’m glad I did the course, I was looking for van driving but this is better.”

The company has four trainers who teach the different skills, and paying customers come from far and wide.

“We had one guy fly in from Australia last week to do a course, and we get a lot from Nigeria,” said Rob.

What they don’t get a lot of though, is women, possibly because they don’t realise the amount of jobs available in the sector.

“There are so many opportunities in construction for women,” he explained. “Even things like working in halfway houses where men aren’t allowed. The girls we do get, go on to do very well though, we have one woman who started an agency and she takes a lot of the girls.”

Rob admits that on the first day of the course, he can see some people questioning their involvement, but by their second day they are “transformed.”

“Historically, these people may not have been told ‘well done’ in their lives,” he said. “But we give them praise. They get themselves into work and learn they can be successful. But they have got to want to do that, there is some conditioning.

“But seeing people find work, like Harry did, it’s what we do it for, there is a pride.”

Latest Romford News Stories

Gallows Corner junction, flyover and roundabout in Romford

A plea has been made for traffic lights to be included in planned improvements to accident blackspot Gallows Corner.

Junior Doctors on Stike outside Queen's Hospital in Romford. Lizzie Hobbs, Elaine Yip and Katherine Elliott

Junior doctors working in the borough will be forced to accept a new contract without agreement or further negotiation, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

12:41
Planning permission has been delayed for The Concordia Academy, which REAch2 hopes to open by September.       Credit: Blue Sky Architects

New plans to build Romford’s first free school are being reconsidered next week after planning permission for its new building was delayed last month because of lack of parking.

09:59
Residents protesting against the plans in 2014

Controversial plans for a multi-faith cemetery next to a golf course have been resurrected – a year after an identical application was rejected.

MP Andrew Rosindell opening the new day centre Beverley Bungalow in Havering-atte-Bower

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell led a debate in the chamber of the House of Commons last night to raise awareness of Autism Sunday.

07:00
Anila Dhami, 24, from Rainham, is one of 10 Women's Equality Party candidates standing in the GLA elections in May

A TV presenter, keen dancer and GLA candidate for the Women’s Equality Party, Anila Dhami wants to bring confidence to women in Havering.

Yesterday, 15:50
A car overturned on the A13 this morning (Pic: @LAS_Newham/Twitter)

Two people received medical treatment after a car overturned on the A13 in the early hours of this morning.

Yesterday, 14:39
Printing dispute

In a world obsessed with 24 hour news, it is difficult to imagine newsagent shelves devoid of local papers.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe