A building contractor has launched an apprenticeship scheme for disadvantaged young people to learn the trade.

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Darren Bolger is a former self-employed carpenter and independent labourer, who then grew his business.

He said: "I found that apprenticeships were dwindling, especially in trades like construction, carpentry, bricklaying and roofing.

"I found that it’s only plumbing and electric schemes that are doing well.

"I now have the ability and resources to train these people in residential buildings."

Mr Bolger teamed up with Job Centre Plus and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to launch the scheme, initially hosting an introduction to construction which saw about 200 youths attend Hammersmith and West London College to devise the initiative.

First apprentice and former Burntwood pupil, Jackson Torr said the scheme "has changed [his] life in a really positive way".

The 22-year-old met his now boss by chance at a skating park where he worked as a youth worker when Mr Bolger was promoting the scheme.

Mr Bolger has been awarded for his contributions to the community by Wandsworth Mayor, Councillor Nicola Nardelli, is already in talks with Councillor Steve Diamond to promote youth initiatives for the Nine Elms regeneration area project in North Battersea.

He said: "I hope to expand the scheme and bring all kinds of people into the industry.

"We are keen to bring women into construction.

"We already have a female plumber and we would love to promote more of that."