A scheme to create 43 new council homes for Ealing Council in Northolt, west London, is helping a 23-year-old from Greenford kick-start her construction career. Saja Al-Batat's six-month placement with developer Lovell has been organised through housing association Notting Hill Housing's Construction Training Initiative programme. She is working on the Eastcote Lane development as a trainee site manager under the supervision of Lovell project manager Alex Impraim.
For Saja, who graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering from Kingston University earlier this year, the placement is allowing her to gain the practical experience to complement her theoretical knowledge. "I'm really enjoying myself. My goal is to carry on gaining on-site experience and then to complete my Masters degree in construction – eventually, my aim is to be able to run a large-scale construction project on my own."
During her time on site in Northolt, Saja has been helping schedule deliveries of building materials and carry out stock checks as well as working on the traffic management plan for the development and the management of waste generated during the construction process. Lovell project manager Alex Impraim is impressed by her attitude. "Saja is thoughtful, meticulous and always willing to learn. As a company, we believe it's our responsibility to do more than just build new homes – we want to create lasting benefits in the communities where we work through this kind of initiative, as well as helping develop and inspire the next generation of talented construction professionals such as Saja."
Councillor Hitesh Tailor, Ealing Council cabinet member for housing, employment and skills, says: "It was great to meet Saja on site. I'm delighted that a project to increase the availability of council housing is also helping a young professional gain valuable experience in the construction industry."
Phillip Mapoma, manager of Notting Hill Housing's award winning Construction Training Initiative (CTI) project sees encouraging signs with the Eastcote Lane development. "CTI have worked with both Ealing council and Lovell in the past and welcome the opportunity to continue providing work placement opportunities particularly for BME groups and women like Saja who are under-represented in the construction industry. We look forward to continued collaboration."