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DoI providing opportunities for Young People 25 March 2013

The Department of Infrastructure is delighted with the performance of the first young people to take part in its Operations Division’s training programmes for those not in Employment, Education or Training, which is aimed at the 16 – 24 year old age group.

The programme was formulated by a cross Government Working Group to try and give some of the estimated 300-400 young persons on the Island a start to their career by developing ‘on the job’ work based skills. Over the past two months the first group of 10 young people have commenced 6-9 month skills training programmes within the Department of Infrastructure and the performance of the recruits has delighted and surprised the teams in the Operations Division.

Early feedback from the technician, supervisors and managers involved in looking after the trainees have been extremely positive”, said Minister David Cretney, MHK

“The work effort and enthusiasm being shown by the trainees has been fantastic and a real credit to them all. I am delighted that we have been able to offer opportunities to these young people. The jobs market is very tight at the moment and it is young people who are getting squeezed out. It is so difficult for them to get that first opportunity that we all needed at some point. The Department’s training programmes are designed to give them that first chance. Whilst they are with us we want to not only give them some basic on the job skills training but also to help build their self belief and confidence.”

As the development and maintenance vehicle for most of Government’s major fixed assets, the Operations Division offers a huge variety of opportunities for training across its various sections. One trainee is learning how to maintain and service electromechanical equipment at the Douglas and Peel Bridges, the Marina Flap Gates and the Harbour Linkspan. They are learning the basics of civil construction skills such as making concrete slabs, curb laying and block paving, basic road construction and asphalt concrete laying. Some of them are getting the opportunity to work on the Duke Street redevelopment, Lezayre Road reconstruction and the Finch Road pavement upgrade. Another trainee is part of the Public Rights Of Way Team working with one of the Divisions’ joiners to repair and construct bridges and board walks around the Islands footpaths. One trainee is working at the Animal Waste Processing Plant and is learning how to handle livestock as well as operate the plant. Another is working in the Technical Services Office helping to electronically archive the Division’s extensive design drawings, some of which are over 100 years old. Whilst they are with the Department they will also receive some specific skills such as plant operating skills, manual handling training and Health and Safety at work training.

Engineering Manager, Graham Allison, said

The team has been very impressed with our trainee. He is working very hard in all weathers and is picking up skills very quickly. He is starting to make a real contribution and is liked by the whole team, indeed when they found out that he did not get any paid holidays the team offered to contribute their own money to give him some paid leave. After some initial concerns, we have found it to be a very positive experience and one that we would recommend to others”.

Minister Cretney continued,

”We intend to take on a few more trainees to work as part of our Estates Shared Services Group before reviewing the programme in about 6 months time. Unfortunately, the Department is set to continue shrinking in size, as a result of the financial problems that we face, so we are not able to offer all of these trainees full time positions or apprenticeships into the future, but there will be opportunities and we are working hard to help these people as much as we can. The Operations Division has an ageing workforce and we need to pass knowledge on to avoid creating a generation of youth in the Isle of Man without craft and technical skills.

NEET- Not in Education, Employment or Training. • There are estimated to be between 300-700 NEET people on the Isle of Man • The Department’s training programme is supported by the Department of Economic Development who pay the trainees approximately £30 per week on top of any benefits that they would normal receive. • The Department of Infrastructure do not pay the trainees but absorb indirect costs associated with the trainees such as work wear, protective equipment and training courses. • In addition to these trainees, the Operations Division employs between 5 and 10 apprentices each year, supports several students through their college courses at the Isle of Man College and has a graduate training programme. • The Division employs people across the skills, educational and professional spectrum and is proud to have supported many employees though to degree level and is currently supporting staff who are working towards Chartered status.

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