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Simone builds new career for herself; From cleaner to working in construction on low-energy homes.

Byline: Report by Mat Growcott

OUT of work and in danger of losing her benefits, single mother Simone Hitchin was desperate to find a job she could fit in around school hours.

Previous employment saw her working in taxi ranks and as a cleaner, so the thought of going into construction was the last thing on her mind.

However, the 32-year-old, from Wellington, Telford, says she has now discovered her dream job, helping to build revolutionary low-energy 'passivhaus' homes. Simone is being trained through the Marches Construction Ready Partnership and now works as a trainee house building operative for The Wrekin Housing Group, manufacturing the panels for four Beattie passive houses the group is building for a site in Arleston, Wellington.

"Being a trainee house building operative has helped me gain in confidence and it is good to have a job I can fit in around the school run," said Simone, who is also a group tenant.

"I feel more positive and have faith in myself again.

"This new role has also given me more financial freedom and enabled me to do more things with my eight-year-old daughter, Brook. For starters I have also been able to afford to apply for my provisional driving licence and will go on to book driving lessons in the near future.

"I never thought about going into construction - I knew I liked decorating and gardening, and I did woodwork at school - but I never thought about it as a job. Now I would also like to pass on the skills I have learnt and help train others."

The training is being provided thanks to a PS650,000 government grant to help address Shropshire's housing shortage and boost the county's construction industry. Trainees are taught key skills needed, such as electrical, joinery, brickwork, plumbing and painting. They also receive the training necessary for the first stage construction processes for the Beattie Passive passivehaus building system.

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Simone Hitchin is putting together a new career for herself as a worker in the construction industry

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Author:Report by Mat Growcott
Publication:Shropshire Star (Shropshire, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2019
Words:339
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