A former homeless person is off the streets and forging a new career in the building industry after being given a chance by a fast-growing North Wales construction company.
Jordan Thomas fell on hard times and ended up on the streets two years ago when his father died – his mum had passed away when he was just 12 – and he was left with nowhere to live.
But now the 29-year-old from Old Colwyn is a trainee bricklayer with rising building company Brenig Construction and he said: “I had some setbacks and it affected me mentally a lot so from where I’ve come from to where I am has been a massive leap.
“It wasn’t good. I stayed with my sister but she has three kids so I was under her feet and I wasn’t in a very good position.
“I ended up on the streets and my head wasn’t in the right place. I didn’t really have a home and I was on the streets which wasn’t very nice.
“I slept under bridges and in sheds mainly. I’ve been out there when it’s cold and it’s horrible but I went to Cartrefi Conwy and they found me somewhere to live.”
Then he was handed an opportunity to get into building work after attending the Construction Industry Training Board Passport to Construction course run by Mochdre-based Creating Enterprise, a division of social housing provider Cartrefi Conwy.
Brenig Construction then offered him employment and he is currently working at their site at Glanrafon, in Llanrwst, where Brenig are carrying out a project to refurbish 30 apartments.
Jordan said: “I started in December with Brenig and I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it.
“I began with Creating Enterprise to gain work experience including a week with Brenig and it was great there with great people.
“I’d always been around the construction business and it was a case of picking myself up and starting out again and I’ve been given a chance of full employment by Brenig and I’m determined to take it.
“If you want something good then go out and grasp it and keep working hard.”
Jordan did a six-week Passport to Construction course with Creating Enterprise to gain his CSCS – Construction Skills Certification Scheme – card which allows him to work on building sites.
He met Brenig Construction Health and Safety Officer Adam Jones and has now been given a position as a trainee bricklayer and Adam said: “Jordan was on work experience at our project at Ysgol Maelgwn in Llandudno Junction and the guys there were just really impressed with him.
“We’re very committed to training and currently have 13 trainees in various roles, including six apprentices.
“Jordan is older than them so he is classed as a trainee and he’s on a 12-month term with us and all being well will become a Level Two trainee and is on course to be a qualified bricklayer.
“Training is really important to us as a firm – it’s the lifeblood of construction and for a long time youngsters weren’t going into the industry which has led to a shortage of skilled people.
“That means that for young men like Jordan there are great opportunities to make a career in the industry.
“It’s not just bricklayers that we’re bringing through, we’ve got people involved in all the trades as well as trainee site managers and quantity surveyors and they’re the people who will help us grow as a company.”
Llanrwst site manager Jim Twist added: “We’ve got some good young lads here on site and Jordan is one of those doing really well.
“I’ve been really impressed with him. Nothing is an issue and he’s really keen to learn. He’s a cracking lad.”
Jordan added: “I’ve got a little girl who is four who lives with her mother and that’s another reason I want to do well and I’ll give 110 per cent and make life better for me and for her.
“I feel a lot better in myself now and have a lot more confidence. I’ve had the ups and downs and now I want to concentrate on myself and my daughter.
“I feel like I’m really getting somewhere and my sister is really proud of me.”
The Brenig Construction Group, based in Mochdre, near Colwyn Bay, was established by joint managing directors Mark Parry and Howard Vaughan who first met as six-year-olds at their local youth club in Glan Conwy in 1987.
They both qualified as civil engineers before being reunited at Dawnus Construction which they left to found Brenig in 2012 and the company now employs 70 people directly and is turning over £11 million a year, with £40 million of work already secured in future contracts.
Their first major contract was a high profile environmental improvement programme on the Parc Peulwys estate in Llysfaen above Old Colwyn for Cartrefi Conwy housing association.
In 2018 they moved into new headquarters at the business park in Mochdre which they built for Cartrefi Conwy with whom they work on a joint venture called Calon Homes with Creating Enterprise, a subsidiary of the housing association.
They are also a growing presence in the housebuilding sector and have expertise in civil engineering and groundworks while their portfolio now also includes maintenance, social housing, commercial construction and plant hire.
For more information go to https://brenigconstruction.co.uk/