Builders' big brother constructs new role

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
He became Britain's first big reality TV star when he won the launch series of Big Brother in 2000.

Now, Craig Phillips is being given pound;500,000 of government funding to set up a training centre for construction workers.

He has taken over three units on a trading estate where he plans to provide training courses and apprenticeships for bricklayers, plasterers and other building trades people.

The centre is scheduled to open in two weeks' time in Aintree, Liverpool, where more than 8,000 extra construction workers are needed to complete vital building projects before 2008, when the city will be the European Capital of Culture, Mr Phillips said: "We plan to open with 60 to 100 students and grow to about 180 students by next February.

"I was a builder for 10 years, running my own company, before I won Big Brother. The industry has been good to me and I see this as an opportunity to give something back."

He has become resident DIY expert on several television shows and has set up his own TV production company.

Now, he and two business partners are investing pound;500,000 in the training centre, with additional funding for the pound;1 million centre being provided by the Learning and Skills Council and the European Social Fund.

He said the idea for the centre arose when he was working on a TV programme called Conversion in Liverpool. "I realised how hard it was to come by skilled tradesmen," he explained.

"I can't teach because I am not qualified, but I will be supporting the staff with my practical skills. My job will be on the PR and marketing side, and building up relationships with construction companies."

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