A group of Portsmouth apprentices have started a unique community building project in Havant.
Twenty-three youngsters aged from 16 to 21 and covering a range of skills, from carpentry to site management, will be constructing a community centre at Nursery Fields, the Barratt development at Denvilles.
A special ceremony to break ground to get the project underway was attended by local politicians.
The new 2,500 square foot building will be constructed in traditional brick and block materials and be ready for completion next summer.
The project was the initiative of Jon Green, Construction Director at Barratt, who said: ‘Often youngsters are involved in only part of a scheme. But here they will have the opportunity of seeing how a project develops from start to finish and consequently they’ll be able to take real pride in their accomplishments.’
Dexter Smith, 16, an apprentice carpenter from North End, said: ‘I am really enjoying my job here at Barratt. Everyone’s really supportive and I can see there will be loads of opportunities in the future. The community centre project is brilliant.’
The Mayor of Havant, Councillor Leah Turner, said: ‘This is a fabulous initiative from Barratt which not only provides a much-needed community facility but engages local youngsters on a really worthwhile project.
‘It also shows that youngsters have a viable alternative to university when embarking on a career path.’
Ward Councillor Jackie Branson added: ‘This area has been crying out for a community centre and having it built by youngsters – albeit under supervision – is terrific.’
Ian Wallace, Managing Director at Barratt, said: ‘Putting it quite simply, apprentices are the lifeblood of Barratt which is why we are so committed to investing in their development.
‘Apprentices here have a brilliant future with us and, given a positive work ethic and enthusiasm, can progress up the career ladder quite quickly.’