John Cooper, 23, began his career as a warehouse operative before realising his interest lay in the construction industry.
He had no previous experience in the sector and decided to join a five-week Gateway to Construction training programme at Seymour Skills Academy in September 2020.
Speaking as part of National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from February 6-12, John said: “I knew that I wanted my career to be fulfilling and gratifying, that’s why I started to look at roles in the construction industry.
“The training I undertook at the Skills Academy was both interesting and very informative as it went into detail about how to work in a manner which keeps myself and the people I’m working with safe at all times.
“The training also covered how to safely operate plants which is commonly used in construction and would allow me to safely carry out a wider range of tasks on site.
“My favourite part of the training is that it was delivered by a team who had plenty of prior site experience and who were very knowledgeable about the industry.”
John then secured an apprentice groundworker role in 2021 with Seymour Civil Engineering and progressed onto a civil engineering apprenticeship afterwards.
He has worked on multi-million-pound projects including Teesworks, Strabag’s HS2 Tunnel Segment Factory in Hartlepool, Durham Bus Station and the A1 Birtley road expansion.
In 2021, Seymour Skills Academy secured a share of Hartlepool Borough Council’s £25 million Town Deal fund in order to support the growth of teaching and training at their existing sites.
The project aims to bridge the skills gap in the construction sector by encouraging the uptake of formal qualifications, job opportunities and youth engagement.
Councillor Shane Moore, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The council is committed to supporting local residents in developing the skills they need to secure long-term, high-quality jobs, and that is why we included the proposal for a civil engineering skills academy in our Town Deal bid to the Government.
“John is a perfect example of what we aim to achieve and I look forward to many others following in his footsteps in the future.”