18th Sep 2012
Training programme builds job skills
An innovative training programme in Belfast has transformed a derelict eye-sore and helped construction students qualify in their chosen career.
Springvale Learning’s Project 202 has enabled them to gain their NVQ Level 2 through participation in the Department’s Programme-Led Apprenticeship provision.
The project takes its name from Springvale’s purchase of a derelict house at 220 Springfield Road, Belfast, which was then refurbished by students who at the same time could gain new skills and real-time work experience as well as being assessed on site towards their NVQ qualifications.
For the past year over 70 construction skills learners have been restoring the 110-year-old property to its former glory. They have also had training in how to become self employed within the construction industry and in property development.
Performing the official Turning the Key ceremony, Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said: “It is heartening to see these young people achieving their National Vocational Qualifications, either as part of their Level 2 Apprenticeship Framework or as a progression qualification en route to higher qualifications in their chosen career.
“Not only have they achieved qualifications in their chosen career, they have also helped transform and restore what was once a derelict eyesore into an attractive property in West Belfast. This building will now stand as a testimony to their skills and dedication for all the community to see.”
Springvale Learning’s plan is to sell the finished property on and to use the proceeds to reinvest in similar properties in the near future, and to continue to provide work placement opportunities for learners.
Gerry McMahon, chairman of Springvale Learning, said: “Our Board felt strongly that a creative and innovative intervention was required during these difficult economic times. We are delighted to announce that at least eight of the participants on Project 220 have now secured employment as a direct result of this initiative.”