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Rochdale empty homes programme enlists trainee tradesmen

Four unemployed trainee construction workers in Rochdale have been putting their skills to use and furthering their training by working on the complete renovation of an unused and dilapidated property.

The four workers were enlisted to work on the home as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Empty Homes Community Grants Programme. They wholly gutted the terraced property, carrying out tasks including re-plastering, wiring, decorating and landscaping, leading them all to gain a Level 1 Building Craft Occupations qualification as well as their Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) cards.

One of the trainees, 23-year-old John Marsland, said that the work has been invaluable and will be a crucial item of experience.

“This housing refurbishment has improved my knowledge of building trades and polished up my skills,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of the work including all the tiling throughout the house. It’s been an enjoyable time and hopefully useful experience for my career.”

There are thought to be around 3,700 empty homes across the Rochdale borough. A group of organisations – comprising Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale, Rochdale Council Strategic Housing and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing – are using the funding from the empty homes programme to bring them back into use while also providing work for local tradesmen and women.