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Disabled to help construction sector respond to upturn

Disabled people will get the support they need to work in the construction industry, thanks to NET Ambition, which hopes to provide more skilled workers for the sector to react to an economic upturn.
Disabled to help construction sector respond to upturn
Launched by ConstructionSkills, NET Ambitions offers training and work placements to those with disabilities, or long term health conditions, to get them back to work in construction.

At the Thames Gateway Forum, London employers listened to Mark Farrer give an overview of the project. He said: 'As chief executive of ConstructionSkills, I am delighted that this project is up and running - because it comes at a time when we need to ensure we have a diverse range of people coming into our industry. 'We can't avoid the talk about the recession, slowdown, downturn and credit crunch, but the industry still needs to deliver numerous major projects over the coming years'.

He added 'When the stronger growth returns, we need to be ready to respond to the upturn with enough qualified and skilled people in our industry to deliver these projects. Construction is not a dead end job and it's not just a manual job. Construction is a great British industry; it is rewarding and does not discriminate. There are plenty of career opportunities available for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or disability.'

The London-wide project aims to challenge the misperceptions held about disabled people within the industry.

Lakehouse has taken on some of the first people to come through the scheme, including James Wilson, 19, from Newham, who is deaf. He recently completed a month's work placement and hopes to go on to work on site.

James Wilson said: 'When I finished college I was struggling to find a job. I was pointed towards NET Ambitions and they were really helpful.

'They gave me some basic training, including health and safety, so I could work on site. I went to work for Lakehouse, keeping the site safe and clean. I'm going to get my CSCS card and undertake other training so I can get more work. I'm interested in fork lift truck driving - though ultimately I'd like to work my way up to site manager.'

NETAmbitions is open to anyone with long term health condition, including anyone who may have been injured or developed health problems in construction.

Not everyone will be 'building' but there will be opportunities for all types of work in the construction sector, including site logistics and professional roles.
1 December 2008

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