Inspired apprentices are building for the future

Nathaniel Brown by Matthew Power Photography
Nathaniel Brown by Matthew Power Photography

Young apprentices have bright futures ahead of them – thanks to a partnership scheme.

Seven youngsters are being trained for work in building and maintenance – while working on repairs at Aragon Housing Association properties in Chronicle Country.

The seven have been recruited as part of the Project Mackenzie scheme run by Aragon, Clifton-based training company Construction Gateway and three times Olympic medallist Kriss Akabusi.

Nathaniel Brown, 19, is among the group and is now working as part of Construction Gateway’s community maintenance team after receiving coaching from former sprint and hurdling athlete Kriss.

Like the other apprentices Nathaniel is on a formal two-year paid training programme.

On completion he should qualify as a building maintenance operative.

Nathaniel finished college with NVQ qualifications in plumbing and construction last year but he did not have a job to go to.

He heard about Project Mackenzie and took part in an initial five-week trial project, before being selected as one of the final seven to win places on the programme.

Nathaniel, of Bedford, said: “I thought I might as well go along to the first section and I really enjoyed it.

“I loved the work that Kriss did with us on motivation and confidence – it really helped me.

“I now believe in myself and I have much more confidence than I did before.”

Nathaniel was claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance when he first signed up for the programme, but he now feels very much part of the team at Construction Gateway.

He added: “The team is great.

“The course has given me the confidence to believe in myself and to believe that you can achieve anything that you want to.

“It is great not having to go to the job centre any more.”

Kriss said: “I was lucky enough to have a mentor in the Army, in the form of Sergeant Ian Mackenzie who gave me inspiration and spotted a talent which helped me to my medal winning form.

“Now it’s our turn to give young people the opportunity to turn their talents into real jobs and give them a bright future.”

them a bright future.”