In recognition of National Apprentice Week, Merseylink’s scaffolding supplier Altrad NSG has hired two local apprentices to work on the Mersey Gateway Project.
David McNamara, aged 22, and Paul Humphries, aged 20, both from Runcorn, have joined the scaffolding and industrial services specialist on a 20-month apprenticeship scheme.
The Deeside-based subcontractor is supplying all of the scaffolding and access required for the construction of Halton’s new cable-stayed bridge and the associated 9.2km road network.
New recruits David, from Halton Brook, and Paul from Grangemoor, are supporting Altrad NSG’s experienced scaffolding gangs, which are erecting scaffolding right across the project for the bridge piers, pylons and elevated approach roads.
David, who is based on site at Ditton in Widnes, said: “I’ve worked with Altrad NSG as a labourer since I left school and I’m keen to progress in the trade. When I asked about opportunities I was encouraged to apply for the apprenticeship.
“I’m enjoying it a lot; it’s like working with big Lego. I’m learning so much from working on site and the lads are really supportive.”
Paul has joined the scaffolding gang working on the moveable scaffolding system.
He said: “I applied for the apprenticeship because I want to learn a trade. I’m enjoying finding out what all of the scaffolding equipment is and how it works. The Mersey Gateway Project is one of the biggest things going on and it’s right next to home so it’s great to be working on it.”
The pair will be learning on-the-job alongside senior scaffolders while working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Scaffolding.
Their apprenticeship is a practical work-based programme that teaches the basics of the scaffolding trade. It covers workplace safety, erecting and dismantling all types of scaffolding structures, building methods and construction technologies.
Mike Carr, managing director at Altrad NSG, said: “We are very pleased to once again create employment opportunities by way of Apprenticeships. Altrad NSG has employed Apprentices across its businesses for many years and this has proved to be beneficial to the company as a whole, especially as we have an extremely high rate of skill retention once training is complete.
“The labour market place has been very challenging due to skills shortages and the utilisation of apprenticeships is one solution to this problem.
“We have worked closely with our training providers (Training 2000 and Simian) to ensure our Apprentices are trained to a high level in a supportive environment.
Altrad NSG is an equal opportunities employer and we are also keen to develop people from the local community. I am delighted to see local apprentices starting with the company and I wish David and Paul the best of luck for the future and welcome them on board.”
So far 21 apprentices have been hired to work on the Mersey Gateway Project in the areas of office administration, accountancy, IT, traffic management, scaffolding, steel fixing and general construction.
Merseylink has directly appointed 12 apprentices and 9 have been employed by the project’s subcontractors, which include Altrad NSG, Sword, Tarmac and Adept 4.
Richard Walker, project director of Merseylink, said: “We are committed to providing local people with access to training opportunities that may help them to secure future employment.
“Apprenticeships are a great way of doing this and I’m delighted that Altrad NSG has hired two local lads to work with us on the project. I wish David and Paul all the best in their new roles.”
The Mersey Gateway Bridge is on schedule to open in autumn 2017.