Drylining trainee Kayrakan Osman tells Construction News Building Lives gave him an opportunity when he had no other route into construction.
For 17-year-old Kayrakan, construction is in the family.
“It’s something my father did and my grandfather did, so I thought I would give it a try as well,” he says.
His traineeship in drylining with Building Lives is also keeping him off the street, in training and on a path to a long-term career.
“I know a lot of people where I’m from [who], because they can’t be bothered to come here, they ended up in prison – some of them got arrested,” he tells Construction News.
“Lucky for me, none of that happened because I was actually here, doing construction, instead of there.”
He says it would be a serious set-back for him if Building Lives was forced to close and he was unable to complete his traineeship or move on to an apprenticeship.
“I know people where I’m from [who], because they can’t be bothered to come here, they ended up in prison”
“Without Building Lives, I’m just a teenager out there with nothing to do, that can get into trouble.”
After finishing school at 16, Kayrakan went to college to train as a chef.
“I didn’t enjoy it much so after two months I quit college and started working here and there,” he says.
He wanted to do a bricklaying course at college instead, but it “didn’t work out” because he had already left college.
Kayrakan also applied for some apprenticeships directly with contractors and subcontractors, but says nobody responded to his applications.
“Building Lives gave me an opportunity to plan for the future”
“Building Lives gave me an opportunity to plan for the future.
“It was either do this traineeship and get a trade and work jobs I can do, like construction, or work for [minimum wage] in a corner shop or something.”
He says he was angry when he found out that he might not be able to continue his training, but he is hopeful that funding can be raised for his apprenticeship.
“I thought, what’s the point in coming here in the first place? I live in north London and have to travel in - it’s a long journey.
“I don’t want to quit because if they can find the funding then I will have made the wrong choice.
“Hopefully it will be okay. But if it doesn’t work out I will try to find more opportunities that will get me a job.”