Families facing difficulties are being given a helping hand to turn their lives around with training support from Tyne Metropolitan College (TMC).

The Kier North Tyneside-led Supporting Families Programme sees trainees embark on a month-long training programme.

The course provides training for two days a week and covers basic skills in painting and decorating, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying, plumbing and plastering.

Trainees then spend the remainder of their time undertaking relevant work experience with Kier North Tyneside, to help prepare them for work in the construction industry.

Part of Kier Group, Kier North Tyneside is a joint venture company formed in 2009 between North Tyneside Council and Kier to deliver a repairs and maintenance service for North Tyneside’s social housing and public buildings.

On successful completion, trainees gain valuable work experience and trade skills that can be used to progress onto further training courses and qualifications.

Alyn Carr, deputy head of construction at TyneMet, said: “This course is a valuable addition to the high-quality vocational learning delivered by this college.

“It gives people the skills that could be used to carry out basic repairs around their homes.

“The programme is also designed so that participants can get a feel for different construction disciplines, perhaps leading them to return to college to study full-time for a qualification.

“They benefit greatly by being out on real jobs sites with Kier North Tyneside’s qualified technicians, giving them an ideal introduction into these trades.

“Our own professional lecturing team add to that by delivering additional skills training at TMC.

“This programme opens doors to important and valuable new learning, and I would encourage people to take advantage of this innovate framework.”

Mum-of-two Angela Bowmaker, 39, has progressed onto a full-time one-year Level 2 plumbing course, having completed the Supporting Families Programme in 2017.

Angela, from Wallsend, who hopes to gain a plumbing apprenticeship on completion of her course, said: “The taster programme was a wonderful experience, giving me so much confidence – it has proved priceless.

“For many years, I’d done painting and decorating and carpet fitting for myself at home and for friends, and I had some competency, something that had saved me a fair amount of money.

“The Keir-backed course opened my eyes to the professional skills needed in other disciplines, such as plumbing and inspired me to want to learn more about that in particular.

“The way the programme inspired me also rubbed off on my 17-year-oold son, who has now started an electrical course at TyneMet.”

The programme has been developed to support North Tyneside Council’s wider ‘supporting families’ work. Other partners include North Tyneside Council’s supporting families’ team, Job Centre Plus, and UCATT Trade Union Learning.

In plastering, trainees are given an introduction to plastering tools, how to use a hawk and trowel, and how to apply skimming plaster to walls.

And the introduction to carpentry and joinery includes the tools of the trade, basic cutting and measurement techniques, and basic wood work joints.

For painting and decorating, training centres on preparation of backgrounds, sanding, identification of types of paint, emulsion, and gloss, and painting various surfaces.

For bricklaying, trainees undergo an introduction to tools and equipment, how to mix mortar to a required consistency, and basic pointing and jointing.

And in plumbing, they learn how to cut and replace piping, work with copper and plastic, and how to bleed a radiator valve.

Training takes place from 9am to 4pm at TMC, Units 40 and 41, North Tyne Industrial Estate, Whitley Road, Benton, Newcastle, NE12 9SZ.

Information is available from Pauline Jamieson on 0191 229 5162 or pauline.jamieson@tynemet.ac.uk