Connect Plus Services (CPS), the company responsible for managing and upgrading the M25 network, has given 11 young people an opportunity to work in the highways sector.
The students from the North Kent Construction College near Dartford took part in the first ‘Get Into Highways’ programme ever run in the south of England.
The training scheme, run in collaboration with the Princes Trust, is aimed at giving students at schools and colleges an insight into highways services and a positive experience of the kinds of opportunities available.
The students, aged between 18 and 24 were able to gain work experience and professional qualifications at CPS under the guidance of the operations teams based at Blunts Farm, Swanley and Dartford maintenance depots. Participants followed the work of the incident support, maintenance and electrical and mechanical teams.
From the experience participants received their CSCS Green Construction Skills Card, LISS Green Environment Card and Lantra 12A/B traffic management certificate, giving them real and relevant qualifications to pursue a career in the highways industry.
Get into Highways was developed from its similarly named construction counterpart which has an ongoing employment success rate of nearly two thirds who participate in the scheme.
CPS is highly supportive of young people wishing to get into highways services and among other things is also offering three, two-year apprenticeships and many of the students who took part in the ‘Get Into’ programme are candidates for these places.
CPS managing director, Ian Spellacey said: “The ‘Get Into Highways’ programme is a unique opportunity for young people to gain an insight into an industry that they may not have previously considered. They have not only had an opportunity to experience the highways services business but have the qualifications they need to get into our industry and pursue a career.”
Harj Sangha, programme executive for the Prince’s Trust, added: “These 11 young people have all worked hard to successfully complete the programme. We couldn’t have made this programme work without Connect Plus Services. The managers and operational staff made us feel very welcome. This is the first Get Into Highways run in the south and we are doing fantastic work supporting young people.”
Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton has endorsed the programme. He said: “The Highways Agency aims to be the world’s leading road operator and to deliver this challenging vision we and our contractors need talented people with skills from all parts of the community to come and work with us. We are delighted to support Connect Plus Services on this innovative training programme. I congratulate all those who have taken part.”