A major revamp of the Christina Street area in Butetown is providing local employment opportunities as well as helping to transform the local area.
The project is part of the Butetown regeneration programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council.
The improvements at Christina Street include new pedestrian and parking layouts, better lighting, new garden walls and boundaries, tree planting and landscaping.
The principal contractor appointed by the Council to undertake the scheme is civil engineering company, Alun Griffiths Ltd. As part of their winning tender bid, Alun Griffiths proposed a community benefits package which included training and employment opportunities.
Working in partnership with Cardiff and Vale College, who run a range of construction skills training courses from their Cardiff Construction Training Centre, Alun Griffiths has implemented a work experience programme for students studying Bricklaying Level 3. Six students have been provided with two weeks work experience in bricklaying on the Christina Street project.
Kevin Robinson, Campus Manager, thinks it has been a great opportunity for students to get practical experience on a ‘live’ construction site just across the road from the College’s Dumballs Road training centre.
He said: “The students have found that the on-site experience complements the training in the classroom. It has improved their confidence but also helped them to develop the speed of their bricklaying. It has been a positive experience, with the students being more focussed and more motivated on returning from the placement.”
For one student, Kieron Ellis, his placement at Christina Street has led to a longer-term role with Alun Griffiths on a construction site in Bridgend. Kieron will work three days a week whilst he completes the final year of his studies.
Gail Jones, Community Liaison Officer for Alun Griffiths Ltd, said: “As a company, we are committed to provide community benefits on all our major contracts. Having the opportunity to link up with local training provider, Cardiff and Vale College, has allowed us to offer practical work placements which will help deliver a skilled workforce for the future.”
As well as the work experience placements, they have also employed Butetown resident, Kahader Suleman as a labourer. Gail highlighted the benefits for the company as well as the community. In the case of Kahader, he was able to assist Gail with translation when she was consulting local residents on the plans.
Cabinet Member for Communities, Housing and Social Justice, Councillor Lynda Thorne said: “Our Administration is committed to maximising training and employment opportunities for the people of Cardiff. Christina Street is a practical example of how our regeneration programmes are delivering on this commitment. I am pleased that Alun Griffiths has provided these work experience placements. Such opportunities can be an essential first step for young people looking for secure employment in a skilled occupation”.