Construction course recognized as a catalyst for change
Karl Bowes from Coolock had been out of work for two years when he joined the Dublin Building Skills Scheme based in Dublin Port.
“When you’re not working, you hang around all day meeting other people who hang around. It’s a bad cycle,” says the 34-year-old. He did the renovation module seven months ago and has since worked for an insulation company, earning €20 an hour and working every day from 7.30am to 4.30pm.
“It changed my life,” he says. “Before, it was a nightmare trying to find a job.”
Although he really wants to work, he says having been caught up in drug addiction, crime and eventually homelessness, he struggled to turn things around.
“I looked for a job everywhere, but the only skill I had was to work.” Because he had been in prison, there were “gaps” in his resume that made it difficult to find work. “There are only so many times you can say you’ve been to England,” he jokes.
Drug free for 2.5 years, he got the break he needed when he heard about the course and got ‘tickets’ or certificates confirming he was qualified in a range of industry skills construction such as driving machinery and insulation work. He is thrilled that his younger brother has recently started the course which he credits with being the catalyst for the huge changes in his life.
“The job gives me something to look forward to. I have money. I have the means to buy beautiful things. I can go on vacation.
To get to his last job in time, he had to be on a bus at 6am and says the work is hard “but no one will give you 20 an hour if it’s not.”
Keith Royal had also been in drug treatment when he signed up for the course.
“I was in a bad place for many years. Something had to change, so I got treatment,” he says. He has a young son “who was in and out of my life” before he tackling addiction “I got clean and we have an amazing relationship now.”
When he started to get his life back on track he contacted Garry Desmond at St Andrew’s Resource Center in Dublin city center who directed him to the course and he soon worked for a sub-contractor on the building project. regeneration of O’Devaney Gardens.
“The course was a great experience. There was no judgment,” he said. “Life has turned 100%. For me, it was all about getting back to work. »
He now works installing sprinkler systems in new apartment buildings. “It’s a whole new job and I’m absolutely into it.”
Having lived in hostels, he is looking for an apartment. “I’m going to see one today that costs €1,350 a month.”
Not so long ago, the 35-year-old said he saw no way out. “It had come to a point where I was spiritually bankrupt. Something had to change. The Course changed everything.