Practical Skills in Construction 2019

Following on from the success of Practical Skills in Construction 2016, we were delighted to repeat this programme in October 2019.

We took 13 young unemployed adults and gave them a two week training programme. This focused on the knowledge and practical skills they would need to start a career in the construction industry.


About the trainees

Our scheme is designed for young adults living in Brighton and Hove who are classified as NEET – Not in Education, Employment or Training. Through our partnership with the Brighton & Hove Youth Employability Service, we wanted to give them the opportunity to forge a career in construction.

Speaking to The Argus, HOP’s Director Jon Orrell said:

“I had a difficult start, with a bad school performance, but when I started labouring, the foreman saw that I could sketch and I eventually did a civil engineering degree at Brighton university. I was the worst student there, but now I am in a position to help others up the ladder.”

The first week – creating a strong foundation

In the first week the trainees received hands-on training covering a range of construction skills. Topics included:

  • Working on site, groundworks, paving and plant.
  • Blockwork and brickwork.
  • Scaffolding and working at height.
  • Carpentry and joinery.
  • Painting and decorating.
  • Plastering, rendering and drylining.



Each session was managed by a local construction firm, so the trainees learnt their skills from experts with decades of experience. It also gave them the opportunity to find out more about career opportunities in the various trades.

In addition, trainees studied health and safety in the construction industry, a requirement for obtaining a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card. Most construction sites won’t employ labourers who don’t have a CSCS Card.

The second week – building upon new skills

The focus of the second week was “putting it all into practice”.

The trainees spent two and a half days working in the Brighton Fishing Quarter. Their tasks included repairing seafront benches and boats.

At the end of the second week we took the trainees on two site visits. The first was to the newly built Hove Enterprise Centre units at Shoreham Port.


Trainees at the Hove Enterprise Centre

This was followed by a tour of the new Brighton and Hove Albion training ground to see the two-storey extension being built. These site visits demonstrated how the skills they had learnt could be applied to much larger projects.

Feedback from our trainees

The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. As you would expect, each trainee had their own favourite new skill (and one or two they weren’t so keen on!), which will help to inform their future career decision making.

During the training one of our trainees, Holly Russell, spoke to The Argus:

“Today I have been doing some sawing and made a frame. I have been looking forward to the painting and decorating as I did my whole bedroom myself at home and really enjoyed it. They are good teachers here.”

Upon completion, another trainee commented that it was:

“A fantastic course”

“Some of the trainees were apprehensive about joining the programme, but they soon realised that they were all in the same boat and a sense of camaraderie built up. As well as the practical skills they learnt, I think the 1:1 attention and positive feedback has helped their confidence.”
Ria French, HOP HR Advisor

What’s next for our trainees?

The Practical Skills in Construction participants continue to be supported by the Brighton & Hove Youth Employability Service.



Following on from the programme, all our trainees were booked onto the CITB Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) test, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a CSCS Card. We are delighted that three of our trainees have already passed the CITB test and applied for their CSCS Cards.

Even better, two trainees are already in paid employment and many others now have a much clearer path to finding the job they want.

How to get involved

We are in the process of preparing the schedule for our next Practical Skills in Construction training.

If you are a local business who would like to offer your skills and experience for our next programme, please contact us.

If you are a young adult who would like to receive training through the programme, please contact our partners, the Brighton & Hove Youth Employability Service.

Thanks to all our supporters

Without the assistance of these businesses and organisations, Practical Skills in Construction 2019 would not have been possible.