We have our Fifteen!
If you called into Pentrebane Community Centre yesterday, you, will have seen that it was absolutely buzzing with activity. As well as the usual great stuff going on there (a community cafe with the BEST bacon rolls; an art project with visiting artists from Europe; after school club and loads more) we also had a whole bunch of lads aged between 16 and 24, taking part in the selection day for the Cadwyn/Prince’s Trust/Jehu ‘Get Into Construction’ Course.
Lads I hear you say? But where were the girls? Good question! Despite actively recruiting for a mix of the sexes, and having interest from at least three girls, in the event, none came along. Later in the year Cadwyn and Jehu will be working together to hold a Women into Construction day on site at Beechley Drive, and hopefully we can use that to show people that construction has a lot to offer as a career, and being female is no barrier at all to that.
But back to yesterday – what a BRILLIANT day! We started the day with a large group of quietly nervous lads, not to mention a quietly nervous me…however after a couple of ice breaking exercises led by the fab Anwen from the Prince’s Trust, everyone became more comfortable and we began to see personalities and strengths shining through.
Icebreakers and introductions were followed by a team exercise – Paper Towers. This is a super activity (and low-cost) which involves giving teams of 4 or 5 people a pile of yesterday’s newspapers, giving them a brief to build the highest tower they can with JUST the newspapers. Five minutes are given for team discussion, then 10 minutes to build, and the winner is the tallest tower that stays standing for 30 seconds.
As well as the fun, this gave us the chance to observe how the candidates worked together in a team; whether they could problem solve on the fly; and also their general attitude when faced with a task that at first appears impossible (what? No glue? Not even SELLOTAPE?). I have to say that without exception the lads threw themselves into the task, planning and building as if their lives depended on it…here’s a couple of photos to show just how tall those towers grew. Impressive, huh?
The fun and games with paper towers was followed by individual interviews, and again every single person did well, with their commitment and interest shining through. If we had not been limited to fifteen places on this occasion, we would have taken every single one of the lads on.
As it is, we had to choose fifteen and this was by far the hardest part of the day for the selection team. For those that didn’t make it this time, the Prince’s Trust and Cadwyn will be working with them to identify other opportunities for training and employment, so the day will still be a springboard to new opportunities.
For the lucky fifteen, ‘Get Into Construction’ starts on Monday – two weeks of hard graft and training followed by a week’s live work experience (more hard graft!) building and installing equipment for a primary school – followed by guaranteed interviews for apprenticeships with Jehu and Cadwyn.
We’ll be blogging progress here of course – see you next week!