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Leading construction and engineering company BAM Nuttall has brought seven local operatives, from its Freetown Water Rehabilitation project in Sierra Leone, to the CITB’s National Construction College (NCC) to complete excavator and lifting operations training

With the project being undertaken on behalf of the Department for International Development, all works must be completed to UK standards. To ensure the correct levels of competency and allow BAM Nuttall to employ local residents, seven operatives were chosen to attend the NCC in Bircham Newton, Norfolk. For all seven operatives this was the first time they had left Sierra Leone.

Three of the operatives completed training on excavators, both tracked and wheeled, while the other four operatives passed the lifting operations programme, comprising a week of slinger signaller training, a week working with lorry mounted HIABs and two weeks of mobile crane operations.

“This is really important to the Freetown Water Rehabilitation project,” says Ross Cawthorne, general foreman on the project.“We have no real way of showing competency in Sierra Leone and there’s no training like this in Africa. The only way we could prove we were going to work to a British standard was to bring the guys to the UK to complete European standard training

“This is life changing for the guys from Sierra Leone. They now have a proven European certificate of training and any employer, once we leave the country, would look at that very positively. I think they would be chosen for projects by other companies within Sierra Leone.”

Before starting on any plant operations, the operatives spent two days in the CITB’s state of the art simulator room, becoming familiar with the controls and allowing trainers to assess their competency.

Braden Connolly, Director of Products and Services at CITB says: “It’s been a pleasure to host the learners from the Freetown Water Rehabilitation project. I hope that the NCC’s outstanding training and technology will have a positive impact on not only the operatives’ careers but also their community in Sierra Leone.”