Repairs Academy helps to grow Council’s skilled workforce
One of Cardiff Council’s key employment initiatives is proving its worth in helping those who are eager to learn develop their skills in new trades and take great strides along their career paths.

The Responsive Repairs Academy was established last year with the aim of ‘growing’ the Council’s own maintenance workforce. It has taken on a number of trainees and apprentices who, after a grounding in different trades and working with qualified mentors, have chosen to specialise in areas like carpentry, plumbing, painting and decorating, and plastering.

The Council currently has six apprentices, along with five people also on a two-year traineeship which can lead to a sponsored four-year part-time course at Cardiff and Vale College to gain a professional qualification. Managers at the Council hope to take on more new recruits next year at a starting salary of around £19,100. Follow this link for further information/vacancies.

The Responsive Repairs service maintains the council housing stock (around 14,000 homes), including repairing doors and windows, fitting kitchens and electrical maintenance. Last year, the service carried out around 50,000 jobs, plus a further 5,700 out of hours.

Among those who have joined the Council’s team via the Responsive Repairs Academy are Connor Jones and Connor Evans, both 25, from Caerau.

“I applied in October last year to be a maintenance operative and eventually specialised in carpentry,” said Connor Jones, who had previously worked for a company building theatrical scenery. “I started doing smaller repair jobs in council homes but with support from the team I applied to become a skilled tradesperson, specialising in carpentry, and got the job.

“I’m now working on my own a lot of the time,” he said, “meeting lots of different people and doing lots of different things every day. I really enjoy it and would recommend the Academy to anyone who wants to learn a skilled trade.”

Connor Evans was a self-employed handyman when he applied online in April for a traineeship, hoping it would give him more job security. “I love it,” he said. “I do general maintenance, assisting people fitting doors or kitchens. I’m working with plasterers and bricklayers who’ve all been very helpful and supportive, but I hope to get my carpentry qualifications next year.”

Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said she was delighted that the Responsive Repairs Academy was proving to be such a success. “We are committed to ‘growing our own’ workforce,” she said. “The Academy supports trainees, apprentices and maintenance persons to become qualified tradespeople – it’s a great way to bring opportunities to people across our communities.”