Students gain valuable work experience on new campus build leading to jobs Back
The new Wirral Met College, Wirral Waters Campus is on target to assist 300 construction students who will be actively involved in the construction of their new campus in Birkenhead. As the first group of brickwork students completed their work placements working alongside subcontractors on the site, one of those students has gone a stage further and has been employed as an apprentice.
Jake Muir, who has been working alongside professional bricklayers on the Wirral Waters Campus site, impressed Joe Hollingsworth Ltd, the contractors, so much that they decided to offer him an apprenticeship position with the company. Jake is about to complete his first year at Wirral Met College and will progress from his bricklaying qualification to an apprenticeship programme.
Craig Jones, from Joe Hollingsworth Ltd, said, “It’s fantastic to see someone stand out with enthusiasm and willingness to learn. We will give Jake all the help we can and wish him well for the future.”
Wirral Met College has been working closely with the developer, the Peel Group, and Morgan Sindall plc and their subcontractors to provide a variety of work placements during the construction of the new campus, to enable students to get first-hand experience of putting their new skills into practice on a live project. In addition to the bricklaying students who will be working on site to develop their skills over the next five weeks, further placements will be provided in areas such as plastering, mechanical and electrical trades, as the internal works on the new building progress. It is expected that, by the end of the new campus construction, more than 300 students will have benefited from gaining valuable work experience on Wirral Waters Campus site.
In order to work on the construction site, Wirral Met students have to successfully complete their CSCS qualifications, as do most construction professionals, and Morgan Sindall are also providing the students with some sponsorship for this. This valuable support has enabled students to take their first step towards employment in the construction industry. Student John Martindale from the bricklaying level 1 course saw his skills recognised whilst working on his placement at the Wirral Waters site when he gained the Safety Award for the month of April, recognising the safe working practices on the site and employees’ continued compliance with safety rules and procedures.
Further evidence of the effective partnership working between the college, Peel and Morgan Sindall includes interviewing students working at higher levels including Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma qualifications, for summer work placements at the campus construction site with a view to the potential for them to apply for higher level management positions in the future.
In addition to the work placements, Morgan Sindall staff have been welcoming groups of students and staff to the construction site on a fortnightly basis, providing lectures on the specialist areas of construction such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), sustainability issues and waste management, and the importance of health and safety operations. Future lectures will include careers talks on areas including architecture, the property industry and planning regulations.
Wirral Met College Principal Sue Higginson really appreciates the wide range of support provided by Morgan Sindall to both students and staff from the college’s construction department, and said, “Our new Campus is the first building to be built in Wirral Waters. It will be a centre of excellence to teach and nurture the wide range of construction skills that will be required to build the rest of the Wirral Waters vision. I can think of no better way to start this journey, than to engage students in helping to build it, after all, it is their futures that inspired us to develop it in the first place.”
Barry Roberts, area director at Morgan Sindall, has been working very closely with staff across Wirral Met College and said: “We are proud to be working with Peel Group on the new campus for Wirral Met College at Wirral Waters. The college has enhanced the prospects of Wirralians for generations and it is gratifying to help people in the region continue their work. We have been holding regular seminars here on site so that students can see for themselves how it all works and get a feel for a project of this scale.”
Richard Mawdsley, project director at Peel Land and Property Group said: “It was always the intention that the construction of the Wirral Met College campus would be a ‘learning tool’ for the construction students. We are delighted that this has come to fruition. Over 300 students benefitting directly through the build process is beyond anyone’s expectations. Huge credit to Morgan Sindall, Peel’s contractors, who have embraced the opportunity to help ‘up-skill’ the students – and to the students themselves who have truly embraced the opportunities to help ‘build their own College’. The intention is that these talented students will go on to help build future phases of Wirral Waters.”
The construction of the new campus for Wirral Met College is on track for completion by the end of August 2015, so that the new students will be starting the new term in their new campus.