Tideway's new starts for the disadvantaged

Thames Tideway has revealed how its supply chain's training programmes are helping people back to work, including the story of Peter Cheasman, a 54-year old former tyre fitter who found himself homeless after serving a six month prison sentence, but is now gainfully employed on London's super sewer. 

Pre-employment training programmes, funded by the Construction Industry Training Board, have been launched this year for each of the western, central and eastern sections of the £4.2bn project for giving people essential skills for retraining. So far a total of 30 people have entered the programes, with 15 securing work placements and 12 entering full time employment with contractors on the Tideway project.

The first programme started in February, for the east contract being delivered by a Costain, VINCI and Bachy Soletanche joint venture, which, took on six people including Peter Cheasman. Peter was directed towards the Tideway training scheme by Thames Reach, one of Tideway's charity partners, which helps homeless and vulnerable people get back into employment.

Through the Tideway pre-employment programme, which is aimed at people living in boroughs where the project's main sites are located, Peter received essential health and safety training, work experience and a guaranteed interview for a job. From Catford in south east London, Peter is now working as a general operative on the project.

“I went from having a full time job to losing everything. You have just got to get the help and take the advice you’re given. It’s not going to come to you, you have to go to them and help yourself," Peter said.

Thames Reach’s basic skills coordinator, Virginia Croft, said: “Peter repeatedly says how grateful he is for the support he has been given by Thames Reach and Tideway. We offered him opportunities, but the hard work and determination to get his life back on track came from him – we are all so proud of what he has achieved.”