A young electrician who struggled to kick-start his career has found work thanks to an apprenticeship programme run by the partnership transforming Manchester’s Brunswick estate.

Viet Le, aged 24, from Glenbarry Close, recently completed a three year electro-technical course with The Manchester College.

But despite his best efforts to get a foot on the career ladder, he found it difficult find a job in order to get the work experience he needed to become fully qualified. 

Viet, who has lived on the Brunswick estate for three years, said: ‘I applied for all jobs, but struggled to get into the trade as most other applicants had work-based experience.

‘All you want to do is get out there and start work and there are too many hours in a day when you’re not working.

‘I was applying for all jobs, but didn’t get a reply to most applications.’

Then in July 2013, Viet saw a flyer from S4B, the consortium leading the £111m transformation of the Brunswick estate, asking residents to get in touch about employment and training opportunities.

Viet sent an email to S4B and signed up to hear about local jobs on offer.

He said: ‘Within a week I was sent information about a job as a labourer and I thought that’s perfect – right on the doorstep.’

Viet applied and after attending an interview with Mears Construction, he was offered work on his estate, helping to replace kitchens and bathrooms.

Then, nine months into his new job, Viet was told that there was a vacancy for an apprentice electrician and decided to apply.

He said: ‘I had mentioned that I’d done my NVQ Level 2 and 3 when I started and the apprenticeship just came out of the blue really. It feels like I’m going in the right direction now, moving up the ladder.

‘I’m sharpening my skills and getting the site-based experience that I never had, so I can now do my portfolio to complete my NVQ to become fully-qualified.’

Viet is one of a number of residents to benefit from Works For Me, a scheme to help tenants into work and training, run by housing association Contour Homes, which is also part of the S4B consortium.

Ross Hemmings, Community Regeneration Manager for S4B, said: “It is great to see Viet is doing well, we really want to help local people into employment and training.  We have set up a Work Club, Internet Café and the S4B Opportunity Club to keep local people up to date with job opportunities and it is great to see some success already.  Local people can still join the opportunity club by calling into the office and signing up”.

Michael Harrison, Customer Care Manager for Mears, said: ‘Viet has been with us for just over a year now and has grown and developed his skills during his time. The training we have provided covers a basic construction skills course and now giving Viet the opportunity to take an apprenticeship, further developing his career and electrical skills. We are really pleased Viet is doing well and hope to help more people in the future from the local area with similar opportunities.’

Solutions for Brunswick (S4B) is a £111m regeneration project which started in January 2014 –to build more than 500 new family homes that consists of 200 council homes and more than 300 homes for sale.

The consortium set up to drive the development, includes Mears, Galliford Try, Equitix and Contour Homes.

Any S4B or Contour Homes tenants who would like to find out more about Works For Me are urged to contact Ross Hemmings on 0300 555 0128 or email worksforme@symphonyhousing.org.uk