High hopes on the ropes for local young people

A high-flying future awaits a group of young people from the Swansea and Bridgend areas who have taken a massive step on the road to a career which could see them working all over the world in rope access.

Thanks to a unique collaboration between Pyle-based rope access technology firm Mistras Group Ltd and The Prince’s Trust Cymru, the group have not only gained the qualifications they need to pursue a career working at height as abseilers, but have helped preserve a South Wales landmark for future generations.

Going to work in an abseil harness hundreds of feet above the ground may not be for more earth-bound souls but the training and gaining their IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) qualification has opened up a raft of opportunities for the team of Princes Trust participants.

The training and qualifying period finishes today (Friday 20th October) and involved participants taking their new-found skills to the sky on Swansea’s historic city centre castle, where they carried out essential maintenance work.

A special celebration of the young people’s achievements and the partnership is taking place on Monday 23rd October at the Pyle headquarters of Mistras Group Ltd.

The Prince’s Trust Cymru, helps young people aged 11-30 to transform their lives. The Trust give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work.

Mark Joseph, Programme Executive for The Princes Trust Cymru said:

“It has been a great experience working with Mistras. The unique skills learned by the young people and qualifications obtained will hopefully ensure that they succeed in achieving employment in this fast growing area of industry and see them having exciting careers in the future.”

Gareth Oliver, Operations Manager for Mistras Group Ltd in Bridgend said:

“More and more companies employ Rope Access Technicians as the most efficient and cost effective way of carrying out work at height. Mistras Group alone have operations across the globe in areas such as oil and gas, mining, the maritime industry, the film industry and high-rise construction projects.

“An IRATA qualification really can open the door to a career in a huge range of industries on every continent. We have been working on this scheme with the Prince’s Trust for some time now, and our hope is to go on to give more young people a unique start on the ladder to a career in the ever-growing rope access sector.

He continued:

“We would also like to put the participants through further training which will enable them to find work on wind turbines.”

Darren’s story:

Darren Beynon is from Morriston in Swansea. He qualified with Mistras and took part in restoring one of South Wales Iconic Castles as part of his experience. He said he had high hopes for the future:

“I used to be in the army and did a bit of rock climbing in my spare time.

“Before I was out of work I had already been working in the Construction industry so being given the opportunity by The Prince’s Trust to take part in an IRATA Training course seemed to me to be a valued qualification and I knew it would help me to find work more easily.

“I had thought of doing an IRATA course myself for years but never had the funding for the course myself.

“I had a great two weeks of work experience with Mistras and hope that I will get many more jobs as a sub-contractor from Mistras.

“The first week I was doing work on the ropes on Swansea Castle which I very much enjoyed.

“All in all it was a very eventful working experience during which I learned so much. It is my sincere goal to stay within the industry and gain as many certifications as I can to allow me to have a very unique and interesting career for the rest of my working life.

“I am very grateful to The Prince’s Trust and Mistras for being given this opportunity.”

Alongside Mistras Group Ltd, other firms have agreed to provide the newly-qualified Trust participants with initial work placements.

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