Gabriel Ededey tells Construction News that Building Lives was so important to changing his life, he is now working for the social enterprise as an apprenticeship officer.
When Gabriel Ededey became unhappy in his career in office administration, he turned to Building Lives to help him change his career and do something he loved.
“I enjoyed construction, I was into repairing things and I thought this course would be great for me,” he says.
Building Lives was the best option for him, he says, because it provides training, an apprenticeship and the prospect of full employment at the end of the apprenticeship.
During his apprenticeship, Gabriel worked for Silverdell and also for Malden Facades on the renovation of a 24-storey building in Bow, east London.
In both cases, the contractors gave Gabriel the opportunity to use his existing skills while also developing new trade skills in the construction industry.
“Initially it started off as labouring work, but then I ended up becoming a supervisor, and I was supporting 15 operatives”
“At Silverdell, I was working alongside the contracts managers, drawing up plans, and ensuring we were following the method statement and the risk assessment,” he says.
“With Malden Facades, initially it started off as labouring work, but then I ended up becoming a supervisor, and I was supporting 15 operatives.”
Gabriel says Building Lives provided the perfect opportunity for him to move into the construction industry and that it changed his life.
“Building Lives was my lifeline. It was an opportunity for me to do what I loved, what I enjoyed.
“I’d had enough of working in a corporate environment, and I wanted to do something hands-on.
“I enjoy carpentry, woodwork, plastering, tiling – for me, getting the opportunity with Building Lives was a godsend.”
““I’d had enough of working in a corporate environment, and I wanted to do something hands-on. Building Lives was a Godsend”
When the opportunity to join Building Lives as an apprenticeship officer arose at the end of his apprenticeship, Gabriel says he “jumped at the chance”.
“I’d been through it, so I knew what was involved and I knew that it was about supporting local people back into employment.”
He says his 32 learners at the Haringey academy were “distraught” when they found out that there may not be enough funding for their full apprenticeships.
“They kicked off; they were really upset, really annoyed – I was chasing people down the road, apologising and telling them it was not what was intended for them.
“I’ve got guys here who have previous criminal records, and this was an opportunity for them to change their lives,” he says.
The campaign has already raised nearly £250,000. We have just two weeks to raise £150,000 and save the future careers of 200 young apprentices.
Get involved in the #loveLIVES campaign:
Visit www.cnplus.co.uk/home/buildinglives/#sign to sign your name to the list of supporters of #loveLIVES.
“And that’s why they came to Building Lives, because we can support them into building their lives and careers back up.”
“I have an individual who has been in jail for 10 years. He’s 45, and he was looking forward to actually securing that opportunity on site and proving himself”
Many of Gabriel’s learners come from challenging backgrounds, including social care, those with criminal records, and long-term unemployment.
“I have an individual who has been in jail for approximately 10 years. He’s 45, and he was looking forward to actually securing that opportunity on site and proving himself.
“His mindset had all been about that. Now, he’s completely dejected and, rather than [Building Lives] being a positive thing for him and his family, it’s now a negative one.
“These guys are very keen. They don’t expect anyone to just give them a job, but they do expect a hand up to the site, where they can prove themselves.”