A slinger’s life…

It’s April, and the home office is starting to feel very normal one year on. I recently made a call to Daniel who’s been helped by Nottingham Jobs, it’s another video meeting but this is one I’m actually looking forward to.

Daniel’s been on the books at Nottingham Jobs for a few months now; we’ve not met in person but the team have told me he’s spot on and will have lots to say about the construction training they’re supporting him with. 

We pick up the call, a few standard tech issues to start with but quickly, with his broad accent and enthusiastic honesty, the conversation starts to flow.

So, what’s your story Daniel?

 “I’m training on Trent Lane at the moment in Colwick, previously I’ve been on sites in Edwalton and did work as a traffic marshal at the back of Vic Centre, you know where the Hopewell’s is in Nottingham? I was there as a gate man, for about eight months. 

“I started out as a broomstick labourer, so I’d be sweeping up and that, generally keeping the site tidy, I was a pick up driver for a groundworks company, picking up and dropping off materials to any site they’d ask me to. I’ve been a demolition labourer, I’ve worked in groundworks and I’ve done the railways too. 

“To be fair I’ve done all that a bit back to front but before all of this I had a pretty bad life. I was in and out of prison, and gangs in my younger days but I’ve changed my life, had kids and put it all behind me with the help of Tina and Jenny. To be fair without the support of Nottingham Jobs, I wouldn’t be sat here, with all these tickets and qualifications I’ve got behind me now.

Daniel found out about Nottingham Jobs through his mate, he was pretty desperate to get some support when he got in touch. Like lots of young people he wanted qualifications but thought the only way he could was to save up his money to do them himself. 

“Coming from where I came from, having a bad life and not really knowing about working and stuff like that, when I started working all my money would go on my kids, on my bills, my car, on surviving basically. Even if I’d saved and saved and saved, I’d never would’ve been able to save myself for the courses.”

So fast forward and now Daniel’s got his IPAF, and slinger and is going for his NVQ Blue Card to upgrade his slinger. [ED. I had to ask, what’s a slinger?] Daniel says; “Basically a slinger is the eyes of the tower crane driver, you know, to tell them where to move the load to, where to drop it etc.” 

Daniel’s IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) card will be useful too, it means he can drive cherry pickers so it may not be something he’ll do all the time, but if there’s no work on site for whatever reason, he can work on cherry picker jobs, like fitting signs on supermarkets or roofing work, so it’s good to have.

Next on Daniel’s plan is to get his supervisor card, so he can become a crane supervisor. He’s experienced a lot of different jobs on construction sites and that’s what he sees himself doing next. For someone who was kicked out of school in year 10 and spent time in prison for most of his teens, it’s great to hear he’s now planning out a strong future for himself.

“It was the worst time ever, after I was released in 2014, I was on an order so there were so many conditions I wasn’t really released. The only freedom I had was I had my two feet on concrete, outside of a prison. I got through it, I got my head down, did what I was supposed to do, didn’t go back down the road that everyone expected me to. I changed my ways, I took less from life, I lived really hard, I struggled for a long time but in return for my freedom.”

“I got a job but it only lasted three weeks, luckily I knew a mate who helped me get a job doing some labouring work in Sheffield and that’s where construction started for me. I was just used to stealing, lying, doing things I shouldn’t in life just to get money but finally, when I started earning an honest wage, I realised that the way I had been living, it wasn’t the way to live.”

Despite doing the right thing, Daniel wasn’t confident enough to take on new jobs as he came across them, he felt he just didn’t have the right credentials. That’s changed now, he now feels he has the right cards to give site supervisors the confidence that he can do the job, that he can be trusted, and that’s going to give him the future he wants as an experienced supervisor himself, with lots of great opportunities to work in Nottingham or wherever. 

“People are always being told ‘just get a job’ but it just wasn’t that easy. I used to moan about it; there’s no jobs out there, what else am I supposed to do? But the support that’s available now to help people gain employment, I think it’s amazing, it’s a stepping stone. I’d say, if you know there’s somewhere you can get employment but you haven’t got the credentials to get ahead with your life, reach out to someone like Jenny, speak to Tina and they will help you.”

Looking to start your career in construction? Get in touch with us or call Nottingham Jobs on 0115 876 4508.