A SINGLE father-of-four is showing practical apprenticeships can be for any age.
Peter West is part of the first cohort through Fareham College’s new Civil Engineering Training Centre (CETC) which supports apprentices to learn and develop new skills to work in the civil engineering and groundworks industry.
The 36-year-old from Gosport said: ‘I used to be a welder but last year four kids had to come and live with me and I had to move into a hostel with them.
‘Someone told me about this apprenticeship and I wasn’t sure at first but it is really good and I get licences for dumpers and rollers which would normally cost me thousands of pounds.’
Peter plans to use the qualification to get into further education.
He said: ‘I think I want to use it to do a future degree to be a surveyor but before I want to learn all parts of the job and see where else I can go with it as well.’
The apprenticeship scheme by Solent CEGA is run in partnership with local firms that sponsor the trainees and provide support throughout the 20 weeks’ initial training and then over the following two years.
Peter said: ‘My employer – John Reilly Civil Engineering – has been really supportive with this training.
‘I don’t think I would have been able to manage everything without their help.’
This year over 30 students have taken part in the scheme where they are paid whilst they train and range in age.
Site manager Nelson Williams said: ‘This course gives them the right start in the construction industry and the basis of the skills needed.
‘We have those straight out of secondary education and some from building sites looking to develop their skills and other mature students looking for a career change.
‘Peter is doing really well with this course.
‘He can be relied upon and he is a role model for some of the less experienced students on the course.’
The CETC site currently operates in Daedalus with a temporary classroom hut and an old aircraft hangar which houses the equipment.
Nelson said: ‘We have long term plans for a more permanent site for the scheme and we now have a developed and structured programme which meets the requirements of the employers.’