A decade on star joiner say training opportunity was key to opening doors to a new life

As a pioneering training centre in Salford marks its 10th anniversary, one of its first ever graduates has discussed how the chance to learn new skills and complete an apprenticeship has transformed his life chances.

Ryan Brodie, 26, from Walkden, was one of the first people to train at the Skills Centre, which was launched by ForHousing in 2009 to create new possibilities for people who may otherwise have found it difficult to find work.

“When you leave school there are two directions you can go in, the right route or the wrong route,” he explained. “I don’t know what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t had the opportunity to take up an apprenticeship.”

Ryan was 16 when he first walked into the Skills Centre to complete a three-week training course after leaving Salford City Academy. It was there he heard about chance to train for an apprenticeship in joinery.

He says the decision has fuelled his potential and has paved the way to a brighter future.

Ryan, who lives with his mum, dad, two brothers and two sisters, completed his four-year apprenticeship in 2013 and became a fully qualified joiner. He now works for property services business Liberty.

“I tell people all the time – I was lucky to get my apprenticeship, it sent me in a different direction,” he said. “I’ve been working for ten years now and have worked my way up the ladder.

“My managers have always supported me. I’ve had lots of excellent training in all kinds of useful skills that will stand me in good stead for my career.

“I enjoy how every day is different. I couldn’t have worked behind a desk all day and in my line of work we get to travel and see new things.”

Ryan specialises in fitting windows and doors and is himself training an apprentice in joinery who is on track to qualify at the end of October.

Ryan’s manager and Site Supervisor at Liberty, Mark Oliver, said: “I’ve watched Ryan develop over the past ten years and he’s progressed really well. He’s gone from being an apprentice himself to now training others to build their future career. He is very capable and has great prospects in his chosen field of work.”

Ryan says he hopes to one day fulfil his dream of opening his own joinery business.

“My apprenticeship has helped me to build a fulfilling career and has changed my life. There are not enough opportunities for young people out there, so places like the Skills Centre make a massive difference. I would tell anyone who has the chance to do an apprenticeship - as it can change their life for the better.”

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