Young Leicester College joiners nail construction experience on site with Stepnell



Two Leicester teenagers have become the first young people to benefit from a new training initiative organised by Leicester College and Stepnell enabling them to gain hands-on industry experience.

Zak Miller and Theo Conway – who are both 19 and studying for joinery qualifications at Leicester College – have each successfully completed a week-long placement on site with the Stepnell team. It was organised as part of a large-scale programme launched by Stepnell and the College which will provide up to 50 work placements for learners.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. Being on site has given me to chance to see how things are done in real life,” says Zak, who lives in Woodgate, Leicester. “It’s also been good working with people who’ve been in the business for years and learning how they do things.” Theo, who lives in Aylestone, Leicester, adds: “I’ve not had the chance to work on an actual site before so this has been a brilliant opportunity. I’ve enjoyed being able to see all the different trades people at work and watch the building taking shape.” After completing their Diploma Level 3 qualification in joinery, both teenagers hope to secure apprenticeships.

Stepnell has teamed up with the College to offer the placements as part of its commitment to bring more young people into construction, as well as provide training opportunities in communities.

Stepnell site manager Steve Gordon says: “Attracting talented individuals to come into the business is vital to ensure we don’t end up with a skills shortfall. It’s a big step going from a college environment to being on a working site so our aim is to give learners a flavour of the industry and the chance to put their skills into practice. Zak and Theo have done well during their week with us, they’ve shown that they are interested and want to learn and we’ve enjoyed having them with us on site.”

Zak and Theo have been working with the Stepnell team on the company’s major project at De Montfort University in Leicester, where it is creating a new conference and events venue. Working under the supervision of the  Stepnell team and the company’s subcontractors, the pair have tackled a range of ‘first fix’ carpentry tasks including putting up timber battening, fitting joists and installing acoustic board insulation on external walls. In addition, their placement has included additional industry-focused health and safety training and the chance for each to make their own saw stool which they can keep.

The work placement programme is also based at Leicester College itself, where learners are getting the chance to work alongside the Stepnell team building the College’s new motor vehicle workshop at the Abbey Park Campus.

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