A major revamp of Christina Street in Butetown will see new pedestrian and parking layouts, better lighting, and new garden walls – all while providing job opportunities for young people in the area.
The work to the Christina Street area is part of the Butetown regeneration programme, which is being funded by Cardiff Council, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Welsh Government.
Improvements also include tree planting and landscaping, but Alun Griffiths Ltd – the council-appointed civil engineering company carrying out the work – is also giving young people training and job opportunities as part of the scheme.
Working with Cardiff and Vale College, which runs construction skills courses at its Cardiff Construction Training Centre, the firm has set up a work experience scheme for bricklaying students. So far, six students have been given two weeks work experience each on the project.
Campus manager Kevin Robinson said the scheme was a great opportunity for students to get experience on a live construction site, right across the road from the college’s Dumballs Road training centre.
He said: “The students have found that the on-site experience complements the training in the classroom. It has improved their confidence but also helped them to develop the speed of their bricklaying. It has been a positive experience, with the students being more focussed and more motivated on returning from the placement.”
The work experience placements have even led to longer-term job opportunities for some. Student Kieron Ellis will go on to work on an Alun Griffiths construction site in Bridgend three days a week whilst he completes the final year of his studies.
The regeneration project has also employed local residents, including labourer Kahader Suleman. Gail Jones, community liaison officer for Alun Griffiths, said this benefited the company and the community as Kahader has been able to help Gail with translation when she was consulting local residents on the plans.
Cardiff Council’s Cabinet member for communities, housing and social justice, Councillor Lynda Thorne, said: “Our administration is committed to maximising training and employment opportunities for the people of Cardiff. Christina Street is a practical example of how our regeneration programmes are delivering on this commitment. I am pleased that Alun Griffiths has provided these work experience placements. Such opportunities can be an essential first step for young people looking for secure employment in a skilled occupation”.