The appointments follow the announcement of Mark Group’s £3.3m contract to install energy-saving measures in South Wales and its commitment to boosting local skills and employment.
The new recruits are all local to Blaenau Gwent and had enrolled on the Welsh Assembly Government EU-backed JobMatch initiative with the hope of finding training and employment, based close to home. Each will follow a 12 week training course which will combine learning External Wall Insulation techniques at the new Community Training Academy, Heads of the Valleys in Aberbeeg, together with practical experience working on homes in the local area, under the close supervision of Mark Group’s Training Officers.
Laurence Stone, Operations Manager for External Wall Insulation at Mark Group, said: “Through our recent contract win we have around 250 homes to insulate in Blaenau Gwent over the next year. To achieve this and to help Mark Group grow in future years, we needed to recruit. Thanks to the support of JobMatch and the opening of our new Training Academy, we have been able employ five new technicians, each with an interest in, or potential for installing External Wall Insulation.”
JobMatch is run locally by an integrated partnership of the Heads of the Valleys Employment Consortium, the five heads of the valleys local authorities, the Welsh Assembly Government, Jobcentre Plus, Working Links, Manpower and Careers Wales.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies added: "This is an excellent example of the value that JobMatch is adding to the regeneration of the Heads of the Valleys. Regeneration is as much about providing new opportunities to local people as it is about new buildings so it is very pleasing to see that JobMatch is making a positive difference to people's lives as well as bringing obvious benefits for the local economy."
Of the new employees, Martin Lewis from Mountain Ash has been appointed as a Training Officer, based on his existing skills. Mark Morgan also of Mountain Ash and David Marl of Merthyr Tydfil were both previously unemployed, but David had previously worked as a plasterer, a vital skill which Mark Group was looking for. The fourth trainee is Gareth Young from Abertillery who had been working in a temporary role for a packaging company and the final recruit, Alun Hill from Ebbw Vale, had been working voluntarily as a builder whilst he was looking for paid work.
Alun said: “In the past I worked at the Steelworks, then in ductwork fitting but I’ve been unemployed for about a year and a half now. I took the initiative and got myself some unpaid building work over the last six months, doing everything from ground works to dry lining, but this opportunity with Mark Group has been fantastic news. It’s full time work, with on the job training and a great team of people to work with. It’s excellent.”
Mark Group’s new employees are just five of many that JobMatch places every year in the Ebbw Vale area. To date, JobMatch has helped over 5,000 people across the Heads of the Valleys region back into work by providing support with training, mentoring, job search, transport, clothing, interview skills, CV and application form completion.
Dave Moseley from JobMatch, concluded: “It’s great to see companies like Mark Group creating jobs in Ebbw Vale. JobMatch is able to run as a successful initiative thanks to local employers who work alongside ourselves to regenerate the region by helping people find meaningful work. We look forward to continuing with what we hope will be a long and successful partnership with Mark Group.”
# # #
Mark Group is a leading installer of energy-saving solutions to the domestic market. Mark Group was founded in 1974 and now employs over 1,400 people throughout the UK, dedicated to to providing a 'whole house' solution to energy-efficiency.