The council’s highways contractor, Streets Ahead, has a substantial track record when it comes to offering young people opportunities to get hands-on work experience and learn new skills in Sheffield.

Over 80 young people have been through their apprenticeship programme since the  contract began in 2012, and 14 supported interns have also benefited from the diverse range of occupations, skills and training on offer.

One of those apprentices- now in his second year- is Aaron.

Aaron Dunston, a keen boxer from Sheffield, is working at Streets Ahead as a Highways Operative apprentice. Having started 18 months’ ago, Aaron is learning all the skills it takes to become a Mason- laying new kerbs and flag stones as part of the city’s Knowledge Gateway project.

His role involves learning new techniques and putting them into practice, whilst attending college one day a week to study the theoretical aspects of his Apprenticeship including health and safety, literacy and numeracy.

Jason Kime, his Supervisor, is very pleased with how he’s progressed since he started:

“Aaron is doing really well,” he said. “He’s a quiet lad, but he’s grown in confidence since he’s been here, fitting in with the team and showing a willingness to learn that will set him up for a long-term career in construction.

“The industry in general has an ageing workforce, so harnessing young talent and teaching them the importance of team working and getting hands-on experience can only be a positive.”

Aaron gets hands on experience with Streets Ahead

The value an apprentice brings to a team is self-evident, so much so that Streets Ahead has already recruited a second this year, who will also train to become a Mason over the next two years.

The apprentices work across all areas of the business and acquire skills that will help them in all aspects of their life, both personal and professional.

Cabinet member for Environment, Street Scene and Climate Change at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Mark Jones said:

“It’s fantastic that our citizens, and particularly our youth, are been offered opportunities to work on such a varied programme at Streets Ahead; learning new skills and being part of transformational city-wide projects.

“We want the next generation to reach their full potential in whatever field they are interested in and to give them a head start in pursuing their chosen career, without limitations.

“Our city is full of energy and talent. That’s what has made Sheffield great, and that’s what will ensure the future is greater still.”

To find out more about the Streets Ahead programme visit:  www.sheffield.gov.uk/streetsahead