Urban&Civic organised a work experience pilot in July to give local secondary school students an insight into the construction industry and the wide variety of skills required to develop a new community like Alconbury Weald.
The week-long programme brought together ten Year 10 and Year 12 students from St Ivo, St Peter’s and Hinchingbrooke for a range of theoretical and practical experience from Urban&Civic and its contractors, consultants and housebuilders to help show them the many job options and careers paths available in the area.
Victoria Denny-Morley, Skills Lead at Urban&Civic, said:
“Through our work experience pilot we were able to dispel myths about the construction industry, broaden horizons and raise aspirations about the types of careers that are available locally and how to access them. We are committed to working with schools and local partners to help address skills shortages in the construction industry and are planning to organise more work experience courses following this successful pilot.”
Following a talk on health and safety in the construction industry and an introduction to Urban&Civic’s Master Developer role at Alconbury Weald, the students found out more about civil engineering at the Breheny compound. They gained hands-on experience of plant machinery and were shown the importance of maths whilst conducting practical engineering tasks such as measuring surface areas.
Over the course of the week, the students experienced a range of sessions covering structural engineering, planning, design, geo-environmental engineering, archaeological and historical considerations as well as the design, installation and maintenance of different landscapes.
Students were also given advice about careers in construction and development and the various routes into industry, including apprenticeship schemes being run by contractors at Alconbury Weald and in the wider area.
At the end of the week, all the students were given a certificate for successfully completing the pilot scheme and each gave a short presentation on their expectations for the work experience, what they had learnt and their personal highlights.
Max Hawthorne from Hinchingbrooke School said:
“I wasn’t expecting to leave with so much knowledge and insight into the industry. I expected more of a standard office workplace environment and just shadowing workers at Alconbury Weald. This experience has opened up my options and I will look for more work experience and explore apprenticeships as well as university courses. I would recommend this work experience to students in the future.”
Georgia Dutton from St Peter’s School said:
“My expectations for this week were to learn about the construction industry and I would say my experience here has surpassed that. I have enjoyed myself and made a couple of connections that may help in the future. Construction sites aren’t just about builders … and I’m planning to look into design and infrastructure.”
Georgia has subsequently been offered a place on Peter Brett Associates’ summer work experience scheme in recognition of her interest and enthusiasm for a career in the industry.