Identical twins Lewis and Liam Forest are looking forward to a brighter future after being recruited to work on one of Europe’s largest wind farms.
The brothers, from Moffat, who were previously unemployed, have been taken on by Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK.
The duo have already undergone training to operate plant machinery and are loving every minute of their new roles helping to construct a 54-turbine extension to the already existing 152-turbine Clyde wind farm, owned by SSE, Greencoat UK Wind and GLIL.
Liam and Lewis, 19, have joined dad Stephen who has worked on the site since July 2015. The opportunity arose when Stephen learned that roller drivers were required to work on site.
Lewis, 19, who prior to being unemployed, had worked for a small office furniture company said: “We started in August, spending a week at Jones Bros training centre, before we began to operate the machines. I operate a roller machine at the moment and I’m loving it.”
Lewis, who attended Moffat Academy, enrolled on a Merchant Navy engineering course after leaving school, but decided to change direction after discovering the course at a marine training college was full for the second year.
“I got a customer service job with a small family firm but I didn’t suit being in an office all day and it didn’t work out,” he said. “I’m loving my new role, it’s really interesting and everyone is helpful, the day flies by.”
Liam, who also attended Moffat Academy, initially did a welding course and has been unemployed ever since. “I am really glad for the opportunity to work at Clyde and learn a trade,” he said.
“There is quite a lot of unemployment in Moffat as there isn’t much industry. Quite a few of my mates are unemployed and they are really pleased for me.”
Dad Stephen Forest, an excavator and digger driver said: “I knew that Jones Bros needed more roller drivers so asked about Liam and Lewis.
“The next thing I knew they had been interviewed, taken on and were having training. I’m really pleased for them, it is a relief to know they are learning valuable skills.”
Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK is delivering balance of plant as part of a joint venture with the project’s civil contractor Balfour Beatty on behalf of SSE, one of the UK’s largest energy companies.
Investment in the area includes more than £20m of long-term support for community projects from the community benefit fund.
Clyde Extension could contribute as much as £121m to the Scottish economy during the construction phase and is expected, on average, to support around 500 jobs in Scotland through supply chain contracts.
Garod Evans, project manager for Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, said: “We are always keen to create job and training opportunities for people, particularly young people, in the areas in which we work.
“A large proportion of the workforce on the Clyde wind farm extension have been recruited from the surrounding area and we are confident that this will create a lasting legacy in the region.”
Founded in the 1950s, the family firm has grown significantly in the last decade. Its areas of expertise include the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects.