Chris Harland, 400th Learner Into Work

A Hartlepool-based skills programme designed to guide people back into employment is celebrating the success of its 400th learner into work.

The milestone is an indication of just what has been achieved by Seymour Skills Academy and Hartlepool College of Further Education in a short space of time.

Chris Harland had encountered difficulties securing a job before joining the Skills Academy, but he remained steadfast in his pursuit of new skills and knowledge.

After joining the Gateway to Construction Programme, his journey took off and throughout his training, he was dedicated and gained a wide range of skills and certifications essential to securing a successful career in the construction industry.

Since successful completion of his course at Seymour Skills Academy, he is now employed by Hartlepool based PORT Homes, who are a tremendous supporter of the Seymour Skills Academy and Chris isn’t the first graduate they have employed.

Chris said: “My skills and confidence have grown and the staff were really nice. I am now working at PORT Homes, on the Seaton Meadows Site, putting all the skills I learnt with Seymour Skills Academy to good use.”

Donna King, Training Academy Manager at Seymour Civil Engineering, said: “Chris has been a pleasure to have at the Academy and we are delighted that he is putting his new skills to use having secured new employment at PORT Homes.

“The staff at the Academy are very proud of what he has achieved. Hitting the milestone of supporting 400 learners into new employment is something myself and the team at the Academy are very proud of, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that it was Chris.”

This remarkable number graduating from the Seymour Skills Academy reflects the team and the collaboration with Hartlepool College of Further Education. Together Seymour Civil Engineering and the College have been bridging the skills gap to get more people back into work, enabling them to pursue fulfilling careers with help from the TVCA Adult Education Funding.

There are further opportunities ahead too as the programme works towards the Town Deal Investment, secured by Hartlepool Borough Council – enabling qualification and training opportunities for more than 700 new learners through 6,500 sq m of new improved skills delivery facilities opening in 2024.

This accolade showcases the importance of investing in local people to secure local jobs and how the award winning academy utilises its peers within the industry to support learners into work and continue to bridge the skills gap.

Hartlepool College’s Principal Darren Hankey said: “It was fantastic to be at the PORT Home site to mark Chris as the 400th learner. That was the idea of the Gateway to Construction Project in the summer of 2020, to help people into work.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the Council, Seymour Civil Engineering and PORT Homes to enable us to do more of this type of work, with the new Town Deal academy providing qualifications in bricklaying, construction engineering, welding and fabrication and multi skill engineering.”

After expressing an interest in the programme initially, Chris was invited to an information session. He was then provided with comprehensive details about the training programme, including the specific modules and qualifications he would gain upon completion.

He officially started with the Seymour Skills Academy in March 2023 and among the certifications he acquired were NRSWA Street Works, Emergency First Aid at Work, Cat & Genny, CSCS Green card including L1 Health & Safety, Stihl Saw and Face fit training.

He also progressed and completed Plant machinery training, regulated by the Awarding Body NPORS, and passed Ride on Roller, Slinger Signaller, Forward Tipping Dumper and Below 10Tone Excavator courses.

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