A Northwich man has got his career back on track – thanks to taking part in a scheme supported by Fusion21.
After being unemployed for five months, local resident Nick Ardern heard about work and skills development opportunities available at the £80 million Barons Quay project in Northwich – a development which is being transformed into a thriving retail and leisure quarter, and is set to create up to 1,500 jobs.
He successfully gained a place on the ‘Balfour Beatty Futures Programme’ – set up by main site contractor Balfour Beatty, and ran in partnership with Fusion21, Northwich Work Zone and Au Fait Training.
The two-week initiative – designed to help local people get back into work – saw Nick age-47 gain his Level 1 Health and Safety qualification, and renew his CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) training, needed to work on a construction site.
Nick spent the second week of his placement gaining hands-on experience working for Balfour Beatty in the role of Vehicle Banksman – and impressed so much that he was offered the role full-time in October 2015.
“Getting back into work thanks to Fusion21 and the ‘Balfour Beatty Futures Programme’, has turned my life around and given me security again,” said Nick.
“I had spent 30 years working in the construction trade mostly as a Hod-carrier for teams of brick-layers – and carrying out labouring duties - before work suddenly dried up.
“Not having a job after all of those years was really tough – aside from the income, I missed my routine and the camaraderie of those working in the building trade. I can’t believe I now have a local job that I can walk to – and it’s great to be doing a different role, and having a chance to expand upon my skills.”
As Vehicle Banksman, Nick is responsible for managing and supervising site deliveries – in addition to traffic marshalling, and reinforcing health and safety to visitors.
The Barons Quay project - which will feature 100,000 sqft of retail units; 20,000 sqft of restaurant accommodation and 900 car parking spaces – has up to 50 sub-contractors working on site, so there is never a quiet day for Nick!
Fusion21 continues to offer regeneration consultancy support to Balfour Beatty on the Barons Quay development. For more information about the development, click here.