Tolent supports Teesside’s young professionals with Stockton Riverside College

May 31, 2019 @ 11:38 by Richard Dawson

Having supported apprentices and young professionals across Teesside for nearly 30 years, Tolent has recently been working with Stockton Riverside College to provide work placements for those interested in construction careers.

Tolent is currently working on the £2.4m project to create a new hanger and the refurbishment of an existing office block for the Great North Air Ambulance in Stockton.

And the team on site were only too happy to welcome an extra pair of skilled hands in the form of 19-year-old Nathan Jones.

Soon to be finishing his T-Level qualification at Stockon Riverside College, Nathan is now confident that a career as a painter and decorator is the one for him, after recently completing a 45 day industry placement with the national contractor.

“This was my first time on a live construction site and it’s been a great experience,” said Nathan.

“You definitely appreciate more of how you fit into a wider team when working in this sort of environment, I’ve been able to see a whole office come together which has made me appreciate other trades and skills.”

Once qualified, Nathan is hoping to find a job that will allow him to continue to add to his practical experience with the hope that one day, he’ll own his own business.

“It’s great to see that there’s still an appetite and ambition for careers in construction,” said Michael Welford, site manager at Tolent.

Michael’s journey started almost 20 years ago when he joined the business as an apprentice in 2000.

Starting out similar to Nathan, Michael completed a multi-trade qualification, gaining experience in bricklaying, joinery and painting and decorating at Redcar and Cleveland College before enrolling on an apprenticeship scheme in joinery with Tolent. He continues to be a huge advocate for apprenticeships today.

“Following on from my work experience in school, I always wanted to become an architect but the idea of a seven year study programme didn’t appeal to me at the time, I craved for something more practical where I could earn and learn at the same time,” continued Michael.

“I would encourage anyone to participate in an apprenticeship scheme and it’s great to see Tolent continue to give individuals the opportunity to enhance their experience.”

The T-Level qualification offered by Stockton Riverside College is the new two-year, level 3 study programme that includes a substantial technical qualification. It enables students to secure vital skilled employment by providing a mixture of industry specific knowledge and practical skills.

Stockton Riverside College’s work experience co-ordinator, Michelle Davidson, said: “The purpose of the T-levels is that they are highly focused on industry placements. They are centred around students applying the skills they have learnt on their course to the world of work. Nathan’s experience with Tolent demonstrates, with the right level of commitment from the student, just how effectively this can work.”

Rick Halton, regional director for Tolent, said: “At Tolent, we’re always pleased to give young people an opportunity and we look forward to hearing how Nathan gets on in the future.

“It’s great to reflect on colleagues like Michael and the journey he’s been on within the business which is a great success story for him personally but also for the business as we continue to show that those opportunities are here for anyone who wants them.”

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