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Our Voice

Posted on 7 April 2015

CITB apprentices head to Uganda to help improve prospects for local children

Four CITB apprentices from Lancashire are on their way to Uganda, having helped raise more than £12.5k towards the building of a school, which will help improve the learning environment and long term prospects for thousands of children.

Jonathan Hartley, George Birbeck and Ted Mossop are among six employees from The Calico Group who will spend a total of three weeks in April working on the “One Brick at a Time” (OBAAT) project, alongside Brandon Coppock, who is employed by Speakman Contractors.

The OBAAT initiative works through a skill exchange between UK construction colleagues and Ugandan construction trainees and graduates. The volunteers work on key education construction in schools and other educational sectors in the Rwenzori region of Uganda.

Jonathan, George and Ted are employed by the Constructing for the Future (CtF) Apprenticeship Scheme, run by CITB in conjunction with The Calico Group, who annually encourage staff to volunteer for OBAAT.

In total, the apprentices have raised more than £12.5k through a number of fundraising activities. On various weekends they completed building tasks, using all the money raised for the trip.

The inspiration for the project came from Stuart Graham, Calico’s CtF Program Manager, who went to Uganda himself last year. Over there, he also worked on a construction project to build a school and found the experience so rewarding that he felt obliged to offer the opportunity to his own apprentices.

He said: “The time I spent in Uganda was the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. Not only is it great training – working outdoors in the extreme heat – but it’s also eye-opening to see the conditions the children live in, and to know that the work you do over there will have such a profound impact on their lives.”

“I’m so very pleased that not only will the apprentices have this incredible opportunity, but the good work, which makes such a difference to a whole community’s wellbeing, will continue.”

George Birbeck, who is currently placed with by Ring Stones Construction and Maintenance, spoke of the journey they’ve had already: “Raising the money has been tough – at times, I was almost convinced we couldn’t do it, but it’s so worth it to have raised the money. We can’t wait to go.”

Sian Williams, SAS Project Manager for CITB, said: “It’s great to see the apprentices taking part in such a worthwhile activity. We’re very proud of them for having the determination and motivation to raise the money and wish them the best of luck.”

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