Coventry students were given an insight into the construction industry at a major new development in the city.
Seven Year-10 pupils from Ernesford Grange Community Academy visited the construction site of The Co-operative and were given a tour of landmark regeneration project by award winning developers EDG Property.
They got to look around the site and then had the opportunity to quiz staff about the process of completing the development, which will feature high specification apartments, café bars and restaurants and office space.
Gurpreet Bhatt was one of the students on the visit and holds ambitions to be a site manager after he finishes his studies.
“I saw all the building sites around the city, I was curious and decided to take up the construction course,” said Gurpreet.
“Compared to other careers, I feel like in construction you are having more of an impact, like building houses for a variety of people.
“I think being a construction site manager is something I would like to do after school.
“From trips like this we learn how a site actually works. We see how the team focus on different areas and spread the workload. It shows how you can use the skills you learn in class in practical building.”
The construction course has been running for 10 years at the school and upon completion the students receive a qualification equivalent to a GCSE.
Ernesford Grange Community Academy is one of the few schools in the region that offers a construction course and teacher Peter Kobrin believes courses like this are vital for the future of the industry.
He said: “There is a shortage of skills in industries like construction and engineering. There aren’t the people coming through that have the necessary skills and we try to play our role in helping young people learn the skills they need.
“It’s important that we have courses like this as it looks after the future of the construction industry.
“We can’t always show them everything in the classroom. The site visit exposes students to an actual construction site and helps them to learn more about the techniques and materials.
“Year on year we see more people taking the course, it is a very popular course to be taken at our school.”
The Co-Operative is set for completion in the first quarter of 2019 and EDG Property commercial director Gareth Edwards says it is crucial that more young people seek careers in construction to enable developments like this to continue.
Gareth said: “A wide range of skills are required on site and we need to make sure more young people are coming into the industry to cater for these skills.
“The course they offer at the school is fantastic. Students learn a lot of valuable knowledge in the classrooms but for them to also be able to come onto site and see it all happening is incredibly informative for them.
“We have a number of sub-contractors who are in their early 20s and 30s starting their own businesses and we are seeing them come through which is really good news for the industry.”
(Picture caption: Pupils from Ernesford Grange Community Academy on a tour of The Co-Operative in Coventry)