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New intake and head of training at Training Centre

The Minister for Equality, Employment, Culture, Tourism, Christian Santos, has welcomed a new cohort of apprentices to the Gibraltar Training Centre.

He and the centre team have worked towards improvements of the facility and an overhaul of the processes to ensure everything was in place for the intake that commenced this week.

As part of the overhaul, equipment, materials and PPE have been ordered and a full complement of instructors have prepared course handbooks and teaching sessions.

Mr Santos said he wants to ensure there are training opportunities for young people outside of the academic arena on subjects not currently offered in schools.

“Gibraltar has a booming construction industry and today’s apprentices will be the skilled qualified tradespeople of the future,” he said.

Forty-two young people have commenced on a three-month City & Guilds Level I Extended Certificate in Construction Skills where they will get foundation training in trades including plastering, painting and decorating, tiling, carpentry, bricklaying and plumbing.

The new cohort went through a thorough application, entry exam and interview process to secure their places. After the initial three months, successful candidates will have the option of continuing their education and training with a City and Guilds Level II Diploma in Building Maintenance or a Diploma in Plumbing.

Currently there are four apprentices working towards their Level II diplomas and a further fifteen candidates will join them.

There will be a total of sixty-one apprentices at the centre.

Inductions were given by Training Centre Manager Mario Martinez and Internal Quality Assurance lead Aurelio Gonzalez to include health and safety procedures and good working practices before the apprentices were allocated their groups and instructors for their rotations for the three months.

In addition, Dylan Podesta has recently been appointed as Head of Training Programs and Facilities. This new position was identified as instrumental to ensuring the new branding and upgrading of the Gibraltar Training Centre facility to include the apprenticeship training, and to manage some of the other significant projects within Mr Santos’ portfolio.

“Mr Podesta brings a wealth of experience to this position, having himself trained as a carpenter at the Training Centre back in the 1990s. His first-hand experience as an apprentice equips him with a deep understanding of what the Training Centre can achieve, and what is necessary for it to do so,” said a statement from the Government.

Previously Mr Podesta had worked as Senior Project Manager for the Government, having formerly transitioned from a well known construction company. “His hands-on approach and practical experience will aid him in his new role where he will endeavour to ensure a new generation of apprentices are successfully prepared for a future in the construction industry,” said the statement.

Mr Podesta said: “I am looking forward to working with Minister Santos, the Training Centre Team and MEECT to ensure the younger generation have access to quality apprenticeships in construction.”

“I sincerely hope my background and experience, having trained in the centre myself and worked in the industry, will aid in my job and inspire the new trainees.”

Mr Santos added, “I am truly excited to see the Training Centre develop and evolve and look forward to the new cohort of apprentices excelling and succeeding.”

“As promised during my electoral campaign, the Training Centre is now fully up and running and is only one part of my vision of offering a broader programme of training, apprenticeships and skills in different fields of work. I welcome Mr Podesta to the team and have no doubt that his energy and vision will be an integral part of the success of the programme.”

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