Bovis' training programme for long-term unemployed helps former prisoner to local gong

A former prisoner has won a London Local Employer Partnership (LEP) Award, after training with BeOnsite, Bovis Lend Lease's national initiative to train the long term unemployed in construction skills.

Meurika Steward, BeOnsite's first trainee, received the Getting Back to Work award for demonstrating an outstanding level of determination, perseverance and personal development.

BeOnsite is a not-for-profit construction skills organisation. Together with LEP support, it helped Steward get back to work while still serving a prison sentence at a women's open prison in Kent.

The London LEP Awards recognise achievements of London's employers, employees and partners.

Val Lowman, managing director of BeOnsite said: “We helped Meurika to get her Construction Skills Certification Scheme card and explained the proposition to our specialist drylining contractor Measom Dryline.

Our joint plan was that the final year of Meurika's sentence would be used working on site to develop her skills and speed so that she could leave prison with some money in the bank, established work routines and networks and a job she had already been doing for a year.”

Meurika Steward added: “Life wasn't great, but about two years ago I decided to turn my life around. I was always interested in construction and once I had told the prison governors what I wanted to do, it took off from there. They put me in touch with BeOnsite and here I am working as a dry liner, earning money with a long career ahead of me.”

Bovis Lend Lease created BeOnsite directly to employ people looking to return to the labour market. It offers pre-employment training in construction skills.