Local men get experience on Barnstaple building site under new Jobcentre scheme.

FOUR North Devon job seekers are closer to a career in construction thanks to a new scheme aimed at getting people working.

The trainees worked on the former St Joseph's Nursing Home site in Newport owned by the Sanctuary Group, where 36 new homes are being built, under a 'work academy' scheme organised by Jobcentre Plus.

It is the first time the programme, part of the Government's 'Get Britain Working' initiative, has been tried in Barnstaple.

Two weeks at Petroc was followed by a fortnight on site, which not only enabled the four to experience real construction work, but also gain Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards — necessary for anyone wanting to work in the industry.

Contractor the Leadbitter Group gave the financial support for the cards and will also be providing each with a letter of reference.

All will receive an interview with a construction recruitment agency at the end of the work experience.

One, Jack Deegon from Barnstaple, had already completed a two year plumbing course and hopes this will help him to get work as a plumber.

"Before this, I had never been on a building site, so this has helped me a lot by learning how a site works, and I have also learnt different skills, so I'm very happy I have done this," said the 18-year-old.

Lynne Symons, employer advisor at Barnstaple Jobcentre Plus, said the 'sector-based work academies' were part of the government's 'Get Britain Working' initiative which encourages jobseekers to take part in training relevant to the type of work that is available in their area.