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Keepmoat fixes up career for tenant who installs his own kitchen Social Housing tenant becomes Site Manager in a year

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Keepmoat fixes up career for tenant who installs his own kitchen Social Housing tenant becomes Site Manager in a year

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Published by Hazel Rycroft for Keepmoat in Housing

Ian Barnes Ian Barnes

An out-of-work social housing tenant has been fitted up with a career managing a multi-million pound construction site after he impressed bosses by installing his own kitchen.

Ian Barnes, a former self-employed carpenter, was looking for work in the summer of 2012 when contractors for housing and regeneration specialist Keepmoat came to his house to fit a new kitchen.

When the 31-year-old asked tradesmen if they had any jobs going he was unexpectedly given the chance to show off his skills – by fitting his own kitchen!

Now enthusiastic Ian, from Tredegar, near Ebbw Vale in South Wales, is a Site Manager on a £6m housing development in his home town after securing two promotions in just 13 months.

Ian was living with his girlfriend in a Tai Calon Community Housing home when Keepmoat contractors came knocking on his door as part of an extensive refurbishment programme for residents.

He said: “When the contractors first came to our house I got chatting to them and asked if there was any work going – I’m a trained carpenter with experience of fitting kitchens so it looked just like the work I could do. 

“They said I could have a go at fitting my new kitchen as a trial and they’d see if there was anything they could do.  Thankfully they were so impressed with my work that within a few weeks I was offered a full-time job with Keepmoat.”

Ian began working at Keepmoat as a Carpenter and Kitchen Fitter in November 2012, but soon showed his drive and organisational skills and in April 2013 he was promoted to Site Foreman. 

Ian said:  “I think because I had been pushy to get my foot in the door, I have always tried to progress my career with Keepmoat, asking for more responsibility and training whenever possible. I was quickly made Site Foreman, and it wasn’t long after that that I began to take on more of the management responsibilities around the project.”

At the end of last year, Ian completed a Site Manager’s Safety Training Scheme so that he would be ready for the next step on his career ladder.  In the end he didn’t have long to wait, as he was promoted to Site Manager at the beginning of 2014.

He said:  “I had felt myself growing into the Site Manager role, but I wasn’t sure when I’d get a chance to take on this next challenge.  It’s fantastic that it has happened so quickly, and I’m relishing the opportunity to oversee both the Keepmoat direct labour team and our various sub-contractors.”

And the energetic employee has had more than just work on his hands after his partner Jody Bennett, 32, gave birth to 15-month old son Harri in 2012. Ian and Jody, who met four years ago in Tredegar, will put the seal on their relationship by getting married in Gretna Green in September.

Ian added: “The last couple of years have been amazing – both at work and at home.  I feel proud to have been able to make such a success of this opportunity with Keepmoat and I am so grateful to them for the support they’ve shown me.  I owe a huge debt to Jody and Harri who spur me on to better myself and without them who knows what I’d be doing now.”

Neil Baxter, Regional Director for Keepmoat, said: “Ian has shown remarkable drive and ambition since joining Keepmoat.

“His rapid promotion to Site Manager is pretty much unheard of in all the years I have worked in construction but it is truly well deserved.

“Ian came to us in highly unusual circumstances. I have never known us hire a tenant who has fitted his own kitchen before. However, we are committed to utilising the local workforce wherever we work in Wales and Ian’s story just goes to prove that.”

Keepmoat has been working with Tai Calon for the past four years to help bring its 6,000 plus homes up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS). 

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