Chantelle Dann
Friday 4th November 2022 - 13:25

How I started my career in construction

I’m the new Construction Technician at the Meadows Community Centre. I'm a Phoenix resident and live in Downham with my son, aged 12. 

^Chantelle working on the YouthBuild Community Asset Build at Goldsmiths Community Centre

I received a YouthBuild flyer in the post when I was 29 and I was surprised I was able to apply for the course because of their wide age bracket 17-30 year olds. After missing the cut off for 2019, I attended the YouthBuild programme in February 2020. I don’t regret holding on even though our whole cohort were forced to move onto virtual delivery/learning for much of the course due to Covid-19, it was hard to stay motivated some days but the YouthBuild team were absolutely amazing with adapting our learning during the pandemic and kept us all engaged.  

The YouthBuild team were also very helpful with supporting me with my mental health during the lockdowns as it was very hard staying home every day and they taught me how to be resilient and how to 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 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 have a long-lasting relationships 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 to take up 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 everyday 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.  

The Meadows Community Centre regularly hosts construction skills courses -  sign up to our Roots into Work newsletter for information on what’s coming up.