Local apprentices earn valuable experience on new Cardigan school build

An award-winning construction company has partnered with a regional charity to develop the next generation of workers as it undertakes a large-scale redevelopment of a Ceredigion school.

Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction’s expansion and refurbishment of Cardigan’s Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi is tapping into apprentices from the Cyfle Building Skills Shared Apprenticeship Scheme initiative, which connects local aspiring workers to sites in the area.

Cyfle currently works with apprentices aged between 16 and 42 and creates pathways for workers across five South West Wales counties through versatile site experience as well as tailored support such as free driving lessons and work boots to those who need it.

Through the scheme, apprentices have been working within Wynne’s team to expand Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi through building two new teaching blocks in addition to a school-wide refurbishment.

The new extensions are the first phase in a modernisation project of the building, with Wynne also installing new windows and integrating retractable chairs into the school’s assembly hall.

One apprentice working with Wynne as part of the programme is bricklayer David Deeth, who has been on site since February and is due to finish his final year with Cyfle in June.

David said: “I’ve had experience working on smaller projects before Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi, so it’s fantastic that I get to work in a more technically challenging environment before finishing my apprenticeship.

“It’s great having access to a large, supportive team as I’m seeing all the different elements of the build and getting a feel for the whole process.”

David is completing his Level 3 NVQ in bricklaying at Pembrokeshire College and currently attends college one a day a week while spending the remaining four days on site.

He added: “I started on the apprenticeship scheme three years ago when I was 29 after balancing a job in retail alongside my studies, so it’s been valuable to experience a larger project.

“At the moment I’m working on constructing the elevator shaft for the school, which is challenging work as it requires thorough attention to detail and is a completely new experience compared to the jobs I’ve done before.”

Paul Falzon, lead training coordinator for Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire at Cyfle, said: “The programme has mutual benefits; our apprentices work on prestigious schemes and can keep their skills in the county, and contractors employing locally can take advantage of the talent on offer.

“David is coming to the end of his apprenticeship and by working with companies like Wynne, he has had access to a larger pool of practical knowledge and will have a better idea of the kind of work he would like to get involved in moving forward.”

The scheme is one part of Wynne’s commitment to safeguarding the construction industry within Wales through the Wynne Futures Foundation, which integrates knowledge, skills, training, and development across the company.

Alongside the joint scheme with Cyfle, Wynne is also working with the CITB Onsite Experience hub programme, which provides apprentices with employment opportunities to become site-ready, as well as offering wider work experience roles on site for the region’s student workers.

Under the schemes, two more apprentices are due to begin work on the site with Wynne in the coming months.

Alison Hourihane, social value manager at Wynne, said: “The goals of Wynne Futures and Cyfle align perfectly as we both strive to empower and develop the next generation of aspiring construction workers.

“We are passionate about recruiting and working with talent from within the areas we build in, as it provides opportunities for apprentices from all backgrounds to upskill as well as leave a legacy through the completed sites they helped develop.”