When Maximo Portugal attended a celeb ‘party’ to celebrate the launch of a multi-million building project he never expected to walk away feeling like a millionaire…
Maximo, who lives in Redmile Walk, Peterborough, with his wife Mary and their son and daughter, had taken a ‘fast-track’ course in plumbing with Europe’s leading trades training school.
He was making ends meet by fitting bathrooms and kitchens while he tried to put some money aside to buy tools to boost his business.
Then out-of-the-blue he was invited by Engineering Real Results – which completed work on a major carbon-neutral project on the Brookfield industrial estate just outside the city centre recently – to come along to an on-site celebration attended by TV builder Tommy Walsh.
And as the celebrations drew to a close there was a draw for £3,000 and Maximo’s name was pulled from the hat.
Maximo, aged 44, said: “I couldn’t believe it … the plumbing course set me up with a future in the building industry but I still needed the tools to allow me to do my job properly. And now this, the trainer has given me the money to get on my feet too.”
Engineering Real Results has been buying up neglected and derelict properties in a multi-million pound move giving tradespeople of all ages a way round restrictive Government legislation which forces them to beg for unpaid work.
The scheme allows the trade students to comply with Government rules which demand apprentices carry out 100 unpaid hours practical training.
Now they can complete their qualifications in as little as six weeks rather than years.
Ground Force star Tommy said: “It’s really good to see Maximo to get this boost to his future and by spending it on wisely, he will have the beginnings of a new future.”
Tommy said: “The Government’s commitment to building hundreds of thousands of homes is threatened by skill shortages. Britain has plenty of young people ready to build a new life for their families by learning a trade but they come up against a brick wall when it comes to completing their skills-set – they need practical experience to prove they can do the job and they find it very difficult to get.”
Dr Telensky, the financial angel behind the scheme, said there have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.
He said: “Our own apprentices were losing out. This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country and enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks instead of years.”
The company has also been buying properties in Watford, Cardiff, Stoke on Trent, Southampton, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Livingstone, West Lothian, Cardiff, Basildon and Wolverhampton.
A spokesman for Brighter Homes, part of the Engineering Real Results organisation, set up to supply practical training for students, said: “We are committed to getting students into work and if we can help them get onto the housing ladder too that would be brilliant.”
Paul Senior, chairman of the National Federation of Builders, also backed the scheme, saying: “Anything to provide training and experience to young construction students is a very good thing. The industry is very dependent on up-to-date skills and experience and we welcome innovative solutions such as Engineering Real Results.”