Sector Routeways: Construction; referrals and case study

Opportunity Sheffield’s Sector Routeways: Construction training programme is up and running, giving unemployed people the opportunity to train or retrain in the building trades and access entry-level jobs within the sector.

The programme continues the work and training model previously used by ‘The Building Block’ to deliver two-week training courses featuring CSCS and Health & Safety level 1, along with construction employability skills, prior to a two-week work placement.

The first learners have successfully completed the training course and work experience, with some participants already moving into employment. These include Emma, whose story is detailed in the case study below.

For more information on how to refer a participant on to Sector Routeways: Construction, please contact

Emma’s Story

From Universal Credit to employment, via Sector Routeways

Emma is a 47-year-old woman who was trained in the Territorial Army as a PT Instructor. She then worked as a Personal Trainer for 12 years prior to COVID 19. As COVID began to hit hard and a large client suspended her contract Emma had to consider other options to retrain. She had always wanted to try construction and long held a dream of building her own home one day.

Emma used the pandemic as an opportunity to undertake the Sheffield City Council scheme ‘Sector Routeways: Construction’. The scheme is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and operates in partnership with DWP to offer claimants a short ‘boot camp’ approach to retraining. The training is followed by a week’s work experience and ultimately employment in their re-trained industry.

Emma excelled on the training undertaken at the Council’s Construction Design Centre education facility located on Manor Lane, where she passed both her CITB CSCS test and level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment. Alongside these work tickets Emma undertook basic training in brickwork and construction employability skills. Following the two-week training, Emma was supported into immediate employment through the collaboration of SCC project staff and the construction firms which support the scheme. She started as a Labourer on June 21 and is now enjoying her second month on-site.

Challenges Overcome

Being a black female, Emma thought that being accepted on-site would be a challenge and she didn’t think at that at nearly 50 years of age she would get a second chance to make a new start and transition into a new career. Her employer really admires Emma’s determination and work ethic and says, “she is treated like a goddess on site”.

Emma had been on Universal Credit since March 2020 until she secured a place on the Construction Sector Routeway through support from her JCP Work Coach.

Sheffield City Council operates Sector Routeways short ‘boot camps’ across a variety of industry areas for adults looking to retrain: Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing, Digital, Care and Telecom Fibre. To find out more about the Sector Routeways scheme please email: