Who is Cyfle?
‘Cyfle’ is the Welsh word for ‘opportunities’, which is what Cyfle Building Skills aim to provide for its apprentices. Set up in 2006, their role is to support and educate their students, making them more employable during and after their apprenticeship.
Cyfle Building Skills take on between 60 to 70 new apprentices a year, between the ages of 17-25 from all walks of life, but with many coming from areas of higher deprivation.
Cyfle Building Skills are associated with five regional colleges in the South West of Wales, where students attend courses lasting 16 hours a week. During these construction courses, Cyfle provides pastoral support for its students, through the Jack Lewis Foundation Wellbeing Centre, which is a 24-hour counselling service.
While on these courses, students do a 13-day practical work experience at The South West Wales Onsite Construction Hub. This programme is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Onsite Experience Commission and is designed to tackle the skills gap within the construction industry. A day of this course is committed to mentoring, another day is committed to Health and Safety, 10 days are committed to work experience and the final day is committed to CV writing and careers guidance. At the end of this experience, all students are also given a toolkit worth £150.
A key element in Cyfle’s offering is its Technical Shared Apprenticeship scheme, which doesn’t have apprentices working solely with one company throughout the period of their apprenticeship. Apprentices complete work experience with the full range of companies and project types that represent the variety of work in the region. The concept of this apprenticeship programme is to rotate the apprentice from company to company, and project to project; all while identifying what skills gaps exist, at the appropriate time, in order to maximise the training experience.
Cyfle’s aims going forward are to enrol 1000 apprentices within 3-4 years. They want to produce competent, skilled individuals to not only meet the needs and challenges of today’s construction industry, but more importantly, to deliver a sustainable flow of competent craft-based workers in the South West Wales region.
Dalton Brown started his career in construction as a Cyfle Building Skills apprentice before being hired as trainee quantity surveyor with ASW Property Services. Dalton is currently on the second year of a 3-year HND at Trinity Saint David University, having previously completed a 2-year BTEC at Neath College. When he finishes his HND, he aims to go on to complete a degree and become a fully qualified quantity surveyor.
A native of the Glynneath area, Dalton attended Llangatwg Comprehensive School before moving on to Neath College, where he heard about the Cyfle apprentice scheme through his college lecturer. He is currently working with ASW Property Services, where he has received enormous support and encouragement – particularly, Dalton notes, from quantity surveyor, Cory Ashby. “Through my apprenticeship with ASW, I have had massive help from Cory Ashby, who is a fully qualified quantity surveyor. He has not only helped me in my work but has also been a huge help with my university studies,” Dalton said.
Anthony Thomas, managing director of ASW Property Services, said:
“We were delighted to have been involved with Cyfle in piloting the Technical Shared Apprentice Scheme back in 2017. The scheme has provided a unique opportunity for the apprentices to work across organisations, combining formal studies in college with the real- life experiences of working within the industry.”
More information can be found on Cyfle at http://cyflebuilding.co.uk/about