As a young teenager, ‘Mike’ worked in a groundwork crew carrying out labouring jobs, working his way up to more skillful tasks like drainage, laying footpaths and paving.
He also learnt to plaster and tile, and picked up lots of general building skills. Mike was at the point of becoming self-employed taking on lots of landscaping work, when he suffered an industrial accident, which led to him losing the sight in an eye.
The accident had a devastating impact on his life leaving Mike withdrawn and nervous about mixing with people. He slumped to the lowest point in his life, which culminated in a custodial sentence.
Despite Mike’s vast experience in the construction industry, he did not have any formal qualifications. He started learning on the Level 2 Bricklaying course with Novus.
He said, “The course was perfect for me. It has helped me tremendously – the learning environment is pleasant, and the instructors relay their skills and experience whilst giving me a massive amount of encouragement. They allow everyone to learn at their own pace.
“My confidence is returning, and I have achieved the qualification – the first academic recognition of my life. It will broaden my work horizons when I am released, as I will now have the opportunity to gain the CSCS card, allowing me to work on construction sites as well as carry out domestic and residential work.”
Mike still works in the Bricklaying workshop as a Peer Mentor. His role has helped him to continue to develop his skills whilst helping new learners adapt to the course and the workshop routine.
“I take so much pleasure from seeing the training fall into place” he said, “and watching the other learners take as much pride from their work as I do from mine.”
Mike’s work as a peer mentor has given him a new found confidence and improved his social skills. He now feels he can handle the kind of work/life situations which he would have struggled with in the past.
The Novus courses are an invaluable way of improving confidence, mixing with new people and gaining work skills and qualifications.