Ross Whittaker from Harpurhey in Manchester attended Plant Hill High School, but was not suited to academic study and left school at the earliest opportunity.  Ross had done several periods of work experience whilst at school, and ideally wanted a career in the construction industry. 

Ross visited the ‘Yes’ Centre in Newton Heath to find out what kind of opportunities were available.  ‘Yes’ is a social enterprise which was launched in 2013 to help North Manchester residents to access jobs, training and volunteering opportunities.  One of the options available to Ross was a Maintenance Operations Apprenticeship with Manchester Working.

The Maintenance Operations Apprenticeship is aimed at people who will work as General Construction Operatives, helping and working with a range of qualified trades people. It’s a hands-on job role, which can lead to working on a wide variety of different duties for construction companies, property developers, housing associations or estate agencies.

Manchester Working is the organisation responsible for undertaking repairs and maintenance on over 37,000 properties in Greater Manchester and the North West of England.  Ross is mainly involved in carrying out maintenance and repairs on public sector properties in the North Manchester area, but sometimes across the whole city. 

The range of work includes plumbing, joinery, plastering and groundworks, such as flagging and concreting.  Ross usually works alongside an experienced and fully qualified tradesperson, but as his skills and experience have increased, he has been able to work with less supervision.

During his Apprenticeship, Ross attended The Skills Company’s Greater Manchester SkillCentre in Trafford Park on a day release basis.  Ross said:

“I completed my Apprenticeship in summer 2015.  I thought the facilities at the SkillCentre were really good, and it was great to be able to learn such a wide range of skills.  The parts of the training that I enjoyed the most were plumbing and groundworks, and I think I’d like to get further qualifications in these areas.”

“I would definitely recommend the Maintenance Operations Apprenticeship, because it gives you a good grounding in construction skills which you can then use to specialise in the areas you are most interested in.”

Ross’s training was funded under the Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) pilot.

EOS is a fund administered by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and New Economy aimed at funding skills training that will create jobs, raise skills and drive enterprise and economic growth in the region.