An inner-city training course which has helped more than 1,000 people has been described as “an incredible initiative” by Higher Education Minister Simon Harris.
The Dublin Construction Skills and Retrofit Programme, which launched in 2017, is run by St Andrew’s Resource Center in collaboration with the Inner City Renewal Group.
The three-week course in Dublin Port focuses on helping unemployed people quickly upskill and find gainful employment in the construction industry. It consists of two main components: a Level 3 Buildability Certification and a Retrofit Assistant Certification.
Both components include a placement process and work closely with each individual candidate to make it easier for them to enter the construction industry.
The main goal of the program is for 60 percent of participants to find employment in the construction sector, with most of them finding a job within four weeks of completing the course.
Mr Harris said he was “overwhelmed” by the work of St Andrew’s Centre, adding that more courses of this kind were vital if housing targets were to be met.
He said the course gave graduates a “qualification that gave them a start, a confidence, a sense of self-confidence and a sense of self-respect”.
“With over 1,000 graduates, this course is not just about numbers, but about creating opportunities, empowering people and driving economic growth. It is encouraging to see the construction industry embracing and benefiting from this skilled workforce. Congratulations to everyone involved in this remarkable achievement.”
On Friday, another 10 people graduated, bringing the number of participants to 1,003.
Among the graduates was 20-year-old Megan Pepper from Ballymun, who is hoping to get a job as a bricklayer. Her father James is also a bricklayer and stonemason. She came to the course through Intreo in Ballymun.
She now hopes to get an education. “It has given me the opportunity to get into work as I can do interviews after the course,” she said.
She said women were not encouraged enough to enter the construction industry. “If there was a push to get into construction, there would be a lot more women there. This course is amazing. I learned so much about myself and learned many new skills.
“I have always loved construction and it has always been my dream to get into the industry. Traditionally it is a very male-dominated discipline, but as the course progresses I notice that this is changing.”