"Everything in my life has improved"

Morgan Wandle, 19, is currently completing his Plant Operator apprenticehip at Banks in Co Durham, and is one of only about 300,000 18-24 year olds currently completing an apprenticeship.

Featuring in the Sunday Times in an article by Peter Evans looking at the impact of Coronavirus on the under 25s, Morgan states as a result of doing his apprenticeship: ‘Everything in my life has improved’. Earlier this year we spoke to Morgan, his tutor Sean Harland, and Lewis Cowey, Training Co-ordinator at Banks.

About The Legacy Project

Prior to his apprenticeship, Morgan started out on a traineeship delivered by Ixion at Banks. The Legacy Project is part of Bank’s Development, with Care and provides young people from the local area who are unemployed  the unique opportunity to gain life skills, construction skills, an extended Level 1 BTEC in Construction, employability skills and the opportunity to progress with a guaranteed interview at the end of the course. The first project saw a cohort of young people aged 18-24, including Morgan, transform two unused containers into meeting rooms and gain practical skills such as plastering as well as key soft skills such as teamwork and time management.
Young lad operating a fork lift truck in a warehouse

Morgan's Story

At the time of joining the project in 2019, Morgan was struggling to find work and claiming universal credit, and was referred to the 6-week project from his local Job Centre.

“We got treated like we were at work, not at college. I learnt a lot of skills while learning with Ixion. Health and safety, plastering, they helped me through interview techniques, how to build a CV – there wasn’t much Ixion didn’t help me with. After the Legacy Project we all had the opportunity to apply for a job which I did straight away. I went to the interview not expecting the best, but I put on the smartest uniform I could and tried my best.

“About a week later I found out I’d got the job and I was over the moon – I can’t describe the feeling! I started work the next day.”

Group of men wearing high vis jackets looking at some plans

Morgan is now competing his Level 2 Apprenticeship in Plant Operations at Banks and continues his learning with Ixion. “I’m working on my maths at the moment and just completed an exam in level 1 functional skills. After, I will progress up to Level 2 and go for my English and get all the qualifications I should’ve got in school which Banks and Ixion has helped me through. Ixion has provided a lot of support with my maths, and I’m back up there again now, back where I want to be.

“Just coming back into work, learning new things and teaching people. Just proving to people that lads can come in, get straight into work and have no bother. We want to get a lot more people into Banks at Trissington, to show them what this company can do and what it provides. The best thing about the Legacy Project is where it’s brought me and where it’s taken me over this last year and a half. It was great to meet other people in my place who were also willing to learn.”

Group of men wearing high vis jackets working on a wall

“I’ll take every opportunity I can get. After the Legacy Project, all us had a lot more experience and lot more confidence. We proved to other people that we can all learn. It couldn’t be better for the working force in Durham, and Banks.”

Morgan is due to complete his apprenticeship in August, and we’ll be sharing Morgan’s full case study very soon and look forward to catching up with him again in the very near future!

You can read the full article ‘Coronavirus leaves under-25s on the edge’ in The Sunday Times You can read the full article ‘Coronavirus leaves under-25s on the edge’ in The Sunday Times here..

A young man wearing an orange high vis jacket stood with two men
Lewis Cowey, Morgan Wandle and Sean Harland

“Never has it been so important as it is now to ensure young people have a fighting chance to access the skills required to progress into sustainable employment in a post-Covid world. Social mobility must be supported and promoted at every opportunity as we move forward and the apprenticeship pathway is an ideal route into work with sector skills and qualifications at different levels. However, Government must ensure that employers are supported with the necessary stimulus to support the volume of new apprenticeships and the work experience required for young people so that they can become our future skilled leaders, and to enable the UK to remain competitive and grow in a post-brexit global economy. We look forward to supporting and partnering to achieve the PM’s initiative.”

Jacqui Oughton, Shaw Trust Chief Operating Officer

“You could see straight away he had something about him. He’d done his research about Development with Care and answered all the questions well. He showed leadership skills, he listened intently to Joe Makowski (National Operations Manager for Construction) and Sean Harland (Tutor), he asked the right questions and showed the right work ethic – everything we look for in an employee. Morgan has gone from strength to strength and he’s an integral part of the Banks Group.”

Lewis Cowey, Training Co-ordinator at Banks Group

“He stood out from day one. He just got on with the work. He was the youngest person on the project, and all he wanted to do was work. Morgan is one of those people that will push himself, and he’ll take any qualification going. Somebody says ‘we need a health and safety rep,’ Morgan puts his hand straight up and says ‘I’ll do it!’ He’s now studying for his Level 2 apprenticeship in plant operations and he’s what these projects are all about, supporting young people with skills, qualifications and experience and most of all building their confidence so they can progress.”

Sean Harland, Ixion Tutor

About Banks Group

The Banks Group is a family owned, County Durham based business employing over 300 people across Scotland and the north of England and develops, with care, land for a variety of uses including surface coal mining; property and renewable energy.

We offer a number of courses and qualifications in construction, for individuals looking to start their career, or upskill, or for employers looking for bespoke and cost-effective training solutions.

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