My YouthBuild Journey
Phoenix resident Chantelle Dann lives in Downham with her 12-year-old son. Chantelle became the new Construction Technician at YouthBuild, a Leadership and Construction skills training programme.
I received a YouthBuild flyer in the post when I was 29, and I was surprised I could apply for the course because of their wide age bracket of 17-to 30-year-olds. After missing the cut off for 2019, I attended the YouthBuild programme in Feb 2020. I don’t regret holding on even though our whole cohort was forced to move onto virtual delivery/learning for much of the course due to Covid19. It was hard to stay motivated some days, but the YouthBuild team were absolutely amazing with adapting our learning during the Covid19 crisis and kept us all engaged.
The YouthBuild team were also very helpful with supporting my mental health during Covid19 lockdowns as it was very hard staying home every day, and they taught me how to be resilient and practice mindfulness.
Completing the course felt good because I was finally able to focus on myself and working towards a career. Previously I worked as a carer but had to take a career break due to a back injury and extra support needed for my son at the time. This meant I had to rethink my career options and the flexibility of jobs.
One of my main reasons for being interested in construction is because my grandad was a painter and decorator by trade all his life and he never had to advertise for work. After he passed away, I really wanted to follow in his footsteps. As a single parent to my son, who has A.S.D (autism), the programme offered flexibility to make up time when necessary if my son was having a crisis. I knew I could call the YouthBuild team and they would be understanding. YouthBuild has a long-lasting relationship with learners and kept in contact with me well after my graduation. They asked me to join the Lewisham YouthBuild team and I was so grateful they did because I absolutely love my job.
I would like to say to anyone considering taking the YouthBuild course to grab the opportunity with both hands and run with it, to remain positive throughout, trust the process, and show up and make the most of every day and prepare to become the very best version of yourself.
I want to help others to make that change. YouthBuild keeps the young people safe, gives them a positive mindset, and gives them a great stepping stone into the world of construction and a working environment. I’m also very keen to see more women in construction.