From education to employment

Training engineers of the future – new partnership leads to highly successful work placements for NCC students

A pioneering work experience programme has given students a fantastic opportunity to develop their careers in the engineering and electrical industries while they study for qualifications at New City College.

The work placement initiative was launched through a collaboration between mechanical and electrical services contractor Phoenix ME, based in East London, and New City College’s Construction and Engineering Centre in Rainham.

Just a few months after launching, the programme has already proved a huge success for Phoenix ME and for the students who are thriving on the practical work experience they are getting to complement their classroom learning.

The students attend college three days a week and work at Phoenix ME for the other two days, getting paid for the work they do. Also as part of their placements, they have been given the chance to explore various aspects of the mechanical and electrical sector.

Nathaneal Judd, who is studying Level 2 Electrical Installation at New City College Rainham, assists with document control, including preparing emergency lighting drawings and compiling information for electrical and emergency lighting completion certificates.

Nathaneal said:

“Joining New City College was the best decision I’ve ever made. Being able to get this work experience has been so good for me. I’ve really enjoyed working in the document control department at head office where my boss is really supportive but he lets me have independence so I can grow and develop.”

Matthew Adams, a Level 3 Engineering student at the Rainham campus, spent several weeks on-site learning about testing and commissioning before discovering his passion for design. Phoenix ME have now placed him in their CAD department so that he can explore his design interest further.

And Luke Frensham, who is also studying Level 3 Engineering, has received excellent feedback from managers at Phoenix ME for his work on the company’s large, prestigious project in King’s Cross. He has been shadowing a testing expert and has been keen to learn and explore different areas of the industry.

Lauren Rimmer, Sustainability Manager at Phoenix ME, said:

“The students have added real value to the business and the feedback from both students and our colleagues has been great.

“Too often young people do not know about the fantastic career pathways in the sector. There are many diverse roles on-site and off-site, including CAD, design, project management, quantity surveying, and more. Phoenix ME is always looking for potential apprentices who are always willing to learn because there are no boundaries to the things they can achieve with that mindset.”

Jane Nugent, Industry Placement and Work Experience Co-ordinator at New City College, said:

“This partnership has been so beneficial to everyone involved. The initiative is delivering a win-win-win for the business, the students and the college. The feedback about our students has been excellent and the placements are giving them real work opportunities which they are getting paid for! Already they have learned so much, gained great experience and some valuable life skills.”

Phoenix ME has seen more and more demand in recent years for smart homes, EV charging and electric heating – activities that will continue to increase in popularity and are expected to become a vital, and lucrative, part of electrical and engineering contracting.

Courses offered at New City College’s Construction and Engineering Centre in Rainham reflect the global changing technologies, with the recent launch of a Low Carbon Lab to promote green skills.

Phip Woodhatch, ECA Head of Regions, said:

“Those who seize these opportunities and learn the tools of the trade will be among the best-placed to help safely implement these new technologies. It’s an exciting time for the electrotechnical sector, with more to come in future!”

Jane Nugent added:

“This is a long-standing collaboration where more students will be offered more project placements at Phoenix ME, giving them an insight and learning in both mechanical and electrical sectors.”

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