Young people to look after the waterways

Published: Thursday, 10 June 2021

THE Canal & River Trust has welcomed 47 young people to its regional, construction, and digital marketing teams.

They are part of the government’s Kickstart initiative, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, to look after the waterways.

Gain experience

In Burnley, Leicester, and Walsall, 23 young people have joined the trust and will gain experience in waterway care and customer service, including canal and towpath maintenance and a range of ‘green’ environmental projects.

Another 22 positions are based with the trust’s construction teams, where participants will learn heritage skills ranging from masonry, bricklaying, and carpentry, to canal bank protection and towpath resurfacing. A further two participants have joined the Trust’s social media and web content teams to promote the use of canals to waterside communities.

The participants started their six-month placements this month, with Danny Matley, Strategic Programmes Manager at Canal & River Trust, explaining:

Fantastic opportunity

“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience working on the waterways. Whilst many of the techniques remain similar to when the canals were built, modern methods have also come to play an important role. The participants will be learning both heritage skills and getting involved in topical projects, such as how to ‘green’ the waterways and how to promote them to a wider audience.

“We look forward to sharing our skills and will encourage the young people to share their ideas with us. We hope to inspire a new generation of waterways workers, who will have experienced the benefits of being by the water and caring for the canals first-hand.”

The Kickstart initiative is a programme for young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. The programme will support young people to build up their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart-funded role.