RG Construction

Building the workforce

NCCER training gives young people a route into a construction career
Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

There’s no substitute for training if you want to build a career in construction.

Dozens of young Bermudians have sharpened their skills and broadened their knowledge by attending programmes run by the National Center for Construction, Education and Research over the past few years.

For some, NCCER courses have opened their eyes to new job opportunities in an ever-evolving industry; for others, the courses have increased their employability even if they end up searching for a job in a different industry.

Of course, it’s possible to get a job on a construction site simply because your dad or uncle knows the boss.

But Allanette Hayward, an NCCER master trainer with Urban Construction Services, argued such a pathway is fraught with barriers.

“Sometimes a small business will take on new people to see if they are able to do tasks,” Ms Hayward said.

“Nine times out of ten they fail because they are not trained or do not have the skillset. Therefore, it’s a challenge when you go to apply for a position at a construction site.

“In construction, the quality of your work speaks for you. If you don’t have the skills, then you won’t be able to produce the quality of work.”

Since last November, five young Bermudians at the Adult Education School have been learning the ropes in the NCCER’s Core: Introduction to Basic Constructions course.

A simple description of some modules offers an insight into the depth of learning required to get your career up and running:

  • Basic safety on a construction site. How to recognise hazards and avoid risky behaviour.
  • Construction math. From plumbers planning drain slopes to carpenters framing walls and ceilings precisely, math skills are essential to the construction industry.
  • Introduction to hand tools. How to select, maintain and use the basic tools of your trade like saws, screwdrivers and hammers.
  • Introduction to power tools. Learn how and when to operate safely and efficiently.
  • Introduction to construction drawings. Understand the purposes of different types of drawings and the measurement tools to produce them accurately.

The course also provides an overview of the construction industry, highlighting the opportunities available through careers such as a carpenter, pipefitter, welder, electrician or crane operator.

There’s also a communications skills element, which encourages the worker to speak with clarity, listen carefully, understand written materials and become a more effective leader.

Meanwhile, a basic employability skills module helps people learn how to display the positive personal characteristics that will impress a potential employer.

Samario Valasse-Paul, 22, passed the industry-standard NCCER course last year and has used it as a launchpad to the career he dreamed about.

“My grandfather, Christopher Paul, was a mason in the 1970s and built a whole legacy on it. He built my house!” Mr Valasse-Paul said.

“I respect that and look up to him. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to work in the construction field.

“I hadn’t had any experience before, but I knew I was a hands-on learner. Being in the construction field was something I was interested in.”

Mr Valasse-Paul said the course was intense.

“The most challenging part was that I was learning something different every day and had to retain the information.

“But it gave me the basic information to bring into the field. It gives you that starter knowledge.

“That’s not to say you will be able to do exactly what the book is telling you, but they tell you what to look out for and what to expect.”

After completing the programme, Mr Valasse-Paul got work as a labourer through the Department of Workforce Development.

“Just knowing the terms for tools and materials helped me understand what my mason tried to explain to me.”

Before long, he joined H&H Plumbing while he continues his educational journey through a plumbing course at Bermuda College.

“It’s given me a positive outlook on my future,” he said.

“This time last year, I was asking myself what do I want to do with my life? Now that I’m here and doing what I’m doing, I can tell you that, in five years from now, I may have progressed higher up at H&H, or I might even have started my own business.”

The course at the Adult Education School has had multiple benefits for learners.

Thaao Dill, the director of programmes at the school, said: “The obvious value is that the programme provides them with noteworthy skills and experience which makes them that much more employable than they were before.

“But also, some young men who have had difficulties in traditional schools and training environments have been able to find success on this course, which can be life-changing for them.”

As the first woman to receive a scholarship from the Construction of Association of Bermuda, Ms Hayward knows first-hand about the value of training.

She has been helping run NCCER courses through the Adult Education School and Urban Construction Services since 2001.

“The Construction Association provided me the scholarship, so when I came back I wanted to give back to the community,” she said.

“I have a passion for the environment, construction and learning.”

She said construction can provide young people with numerous career opportunities, from dealing with numbers to project managers or quantity surveyors.

“You can work in different fields and can transition your skills into whatever industry you wish,” she said.

“You can make good money if you are consistent and passionate at what you do. The NCCER programme is a good foundation to help you pick a career in the industry.”

The industry also benefits from training young people.

Ms Hayward explained: “The ageing population is dying out and we need more young apprentices to come and learn from them, bring energy and rejuvenate the industry.

“Young people are often pushed to get a college degree so that they can work in an office in a business, but we have to let youths know construction is also a business and brings many different job opportunities.”

Write A Comment