Traineeships and Housing Refurbishment – it’s not just bricks and mortar

The New Year sees the start of a new programme being delivered by our Vocational Training team – the Housing Refurbishment Traineeship; a Traineeship is designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job but don’t yet have appropriate skills or experience.

Traineeships prepare young people for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’. They provide the essential work preparation training, maths and English and work experience needed to get an Apprenticeship or other job.

Here at Groundwork the Vocational Training team have delivered entry level qualifications in for the construction industry for many years and welcome the Traineeship model as another stepping stone to supporting young people into work or further training and education.

Participation in our Housing Refurbishment Traineeship will provide young people with real hands on experience alongside some of Groundwork’s programmed housing work which includes the refurbishment of void properties; this programme will take young people on a journey over their 15 weeks of course participation allowing them to learn the skills needed to further enhance their employment and training opportunities.

Whilst with us the “real life” activity is constantly underpinned with knowledge via our construction training assessors and supervisors who will be providing a mixture of workshop and onsite training to maximise the Trainees development. Completion of a Housing Refurbishment Traineeship provides learners with a level 1 Qualification in “Multitrades” and provides the trainees with skills in plastering, joinery, and painting and decorating. The programme is aimed at helping the young person decide on a career path and provide support towards apprenticeships, training or employment.

Trainees having the opportunity to gain experience in a working environment creates multiple benefits, it allows the Trainees to gain firsthand experience of what it is like to be employed in the building trade and secondly provides our Housing Refurbishment programme with a unique angle… it’s not just about “bricks and mortar”! When a property is redeveloped by Groundwork we are able to utilise the properties being worked on to provide a bespoke training environment. Linking the Traineeships to our housing programme provides young people from the communities in which we work with the option of completing training, finding employment as well as creating affordable homes from what were once derelict and unused buildings. It is an aspiration of mine to work with a young person on the Housing Refurbishment programme that is in need of social housing and once complete has the opportunity to live in the property and go on to find employment within our supply chain; we have been close in the past, having one young person work on a void property within the street they live then move on to an apprenticeship with a firm working on the same estate – all we needed was them to move house a few doors down and we would have completed the hat-trick!


Rochdale has in the region of 4000 empty homes, with approximately half of them long term void and the majority of which are in private ownership. Our existing programme works with landlords to redevelop void properties whilst providing training opportunities for young people in the construction trades. In the last 3 years we have been creating a property portfolio that now stands at 15, this is only scratching the surface of the issue but little by little and street by street we can help improve the lives of those involved in the training and redevelop properties and remove what is often an eyesore for the neighbours. Working closely with Rochdale Borough Council and with additional financial support from the Department of Communities and Local Government we have been able to change places and change lives which, as an organisation, is what we set out to do.

If you would like to find out more about our innovative Housing Refurbishment programme or know of a young person aged 16-24 who could benefit from the Traineeship then please do get in touch.

Phil Treaton, Land & Design Manager

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