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“This course has made me look at a lot of things differently. I now know where I want to go in my career and feel much more positive about my future as I can see the path I want to take.” 

Name: Amy Richards

Age: 29

Location: Hartlepool

Job: General Operative, Seymour Skills Academy


Funded by Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Adult Education Budget via Hartlepool College of Further Education and in conjunction with Seymour Skills Academy, the 5-week Gateway to Construction programme offers a pathway to a career in the construction industry. 

Before enrolling on the course Amy was unemployed, seeking Universal Credit and unsure about her next steps. It wasn’t until her nana spotted the course on social media and sent Amy the link that she started to think about the possibilities of a career in construction.  

Amy admits: “I was blown away by what was available. The whole course was so useful. I learned a lot of new knowledge around plant and machinery.” 

With the opportunity to train within an 11-acre, real-life construction site environment, equipped with industrial plant and machinery and a specialist confined space unit, the course offers real hands-on construction experience. 

Learners are supported at every step of the way. After enrolling onto the programme learners meet on a one-to-one basis to develop a bespoke training programme unique to their individual career goals. Support is also available through the National Careers Service to create an up-to-date CV. Once the training is complete a final exit interview helps learners to create an action plan to move into work. Seymour’s recruits directly from the programme, as well as working with national and local employers to support graduates into work. 

Amy completed a programme of industry recognised qualifications including NRASWA Streetworks, Emergency First Aid, CSCS Green Card, Abrasive Wheels, Asbestos Awareness and NPORS Novice Training for categories – Excavator 360, Forward Tipping Dumper, Ride on Roller and Slinger Signaller. 

After completing the course, Amy landed a full-time job with Seymour Civil Engineering working as a General Operative at Seymour Skills Academy and she is thriving in her new role. 

She says: “My job is different every day. One day I can be moving plant to set up for courses starting, working on preparing hot lay, helping with groundwork, or even assisting site instructors with the courses.” 

As well as equipping her with the essential industry knowledge and skills needed for the job, the programme gave Amy the tools she needed to build her confidence. 

Amy said: “I was facing confidence issues and didn’t think I could ever do a job like this, but my instructor helped me re-gain confidence in myself. I’d love to become an instructor myself to help bring more women into the construction industry and help support people in achieving their goals. 

“The Gateway to Construction course has made me look at a lot of things differently. I now know where I want to go in my career and feel much more positive about my future as I can see the path I want to take.” 

The Adult Education Budget aims to offer “second chance” opportunities for adults aged 19+ who are looking for a career change into a job in a high demand, high growth or priority sector and require a second level 2 or level 3 qualification. 

TVCA is responsible for the Adult Education Budget for the Tees Valley, which was devolved to TVCA from the Education Skills Funding Agency in August 2019. 

Donna King, Training Academy Manager at Seymour Skills Academy, said: “Through the Adult Education Budget being available locally, Seymour Skills Academy has been able to make construction training more accessible. The Construction industry has huge challenges with skills shortages, which is why ensuring a continuous pipeline of diverse emerging talent has never been more important.  

“Through the Gateway to Construction course, Seymour Civil Engineering has taken on over 20 candidates and in this last financial year, alone we have seen 121 people go into employment following completion of the course. It is through this accessibility that we have developed great assets, like Amy who has joined our team and has become a great advocate for Women in Construction. She now has ambitions to become a trainer herself – this would have never been possible if it wasn’t for the Adult Education Budget supporting the Gateway to Construction Course.” 

To find out more about the Adult Education Budget, visit:  

To find out more about Adult Skills provision in the Tees Valley, visit: