Since November 2015 Hamish has been building housing near Sandy Park. He is an apprentice Bricklayer working towards his L2 trowel occupations qualification. He works on groundworks, brick and blockwork, concreting and screeding, and has day release once a week to attend Exeter College.
But before then Hamish had a rocky start and was not in education, employment or training. Hamish joined the first cohort of ‘REEP’, the fore-runner of BEEP, for young people with often complex needs who were struggling to find work. During the two week intensive programme Hamish met Kieron his mentor who then worked with him to develop his plan for the future, and offered regular ongoing confidence building and practical support during his transition into his apprenticeship/employment.
Hamish has made the very positive and significant transition from being workless and suffering a significant lack of self-confidence into a skilled trade within the construction industry. ‘Construction’ is considered a tough work environment but one where skilled trades are highly regarded and in demand. Locally the construction industry is suffering skills shortages which Hamish is now helping to fill.
For Hamish the REEP experience has been life-changing. As an individual he has a secure means of supporting himself, opportunities for career progression within Construction and sufficient confidence to begin to maximise opportunities. He is proving his potential when he and others believed he had none.
Hamish would very probably still be labelled as NEET without REEP. But through his own perseverance in overcoming adversity and in ‘going the extra mile’ even when frequently faced with challenging situations and without the benefit of more usual support Hamish has made huge progress. He has set himself the long-term goal of building his own house and making his own way. He is a role model for other young people in the workplace. His mentor Kieron says “even though he has been through a tough time he always puts other people first”.
Hamish has met HRH Prince Harry, featured with his employers on BBC Spotlight and has just been awarded ‘Exeter Achiever of the Year’ by Karime Hassan Exeter City Council’s Chief Executive. His achievements are an inspiration to us all.