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Former London mayor opens training centre for builders

PUBLISHED: 16:46 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:52 29 April 2013

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingston leaves his hand prints for prosperity at the opening of the  Building Lives Training Academy in Summit Estate.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingston leaves his hand prints for prosperity at the opening of the Building Lives Training Academy in Summit Estate.

Archant

Former TV celebrity builder Tommy Walsh and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone officially opened an academy to train the next generation of builders last Wednesday.

The Hackney Building Lives Academy in the Summit Estate, Portland Avenue, Stamford Hill was previously a disused community centre. It took three months and £60,000 to transform it into the new multi-skill training centre, which will offer 50 paid apprenticeships every year.

In the last few months it has turned around the lives of 50 previously unemployed people aged between 16 and 65, by providing 12 weeks pre-apprentice training and supporting them into paid apprenticeships within the construction industry.

Apprentice Teswane Stephen, 18, of Mapledene Estate, Mapledene Road, Hackney who was featured on London Tonight said: “Before this I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I was unemployed for almost a year. Building Lives is kind of a life saver.”

Mr Livingstone, who put his hand print in plaster along with representatives from all the organisations involved, said: “One of the mistakes of the last forty years under all governments is that schooling has focused solely on getting kids into university, but barely half of all kids will actually make it there. Education has a duty to provide a range of skills and opportunities that lead to jobs. I’m delighted that an entrepreneur like Steve Rawlings has stepped in with the Building Lives model to do just that. And very I’m proud to be here launching this new Hackney Academy.”

Steve Rawlings, CEO and founder of Building Lives started as an apprentice 40 years ago. He said: “I’m so thankful to all the partners involved. “Together we really are building lives. This model works and I’m going to take it to every London borough.”

The centre opened last October for pre-apprenticeship training.

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