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COLEG CAMBRIA and top housing developers are building relations with school pupils in a bid to encourage them to pursue a career in construction.
The college hosted the newly launched BEATS (Built Environment Aspiring Technical Students) event at its £10m Bersham Road engineering complex in Wrexham on Friday.
Organised in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), more than 100 secondary school pupils enjoyed a programme of activities and presentations designed to showcase the vast range of jobs available in the sector.
Youngsters from Rhosnesni High School, Ysgol Clywedog, Ysgol Rhiwabon and Ysgol-y-Grango took part in technical and design challenges, workshops and games, experiencing the use of Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D modelling and augmented reality at the state-of-the-art college facility.
Among the organisations in attendance were Wynne Construction, Watkin Jones, Galliford Try, Read Construction and Wrexham County Borough Council, alongside CITB staff and construction ambassadors.
They were joined by Coleg Cambria Chief Executive, David Jones, and Ken Skates, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport.
Nick Tyson, Cambria's Assistant Principal and Director of Learning, said the CITB, the college and the private sector want to work with the children to encourage them to set their sights high from an early age.
"When people think of building and construction they often think about the hands-on, physical jobs and not the wider range of opportunities out there," said Mr Tyson.
"The sector needs designers, architects, surveyors, managers, civil engineers and many other roles to help meet the demand for skilled staff.
“The possibilities are endless, and this event was about highlighting how vital it is we train the construction workers of the future, which I think the pupils really enjoyed.
"I would like to thank them for being a part of the programme and for embracing the games and challenges we put to them. I'm sure many of them will go on to follow a career in this sector."
Those words were echoed by Councillor Phil Wynn, Wrexham's lead member for Education.
"The industry needs one in five pupils to enter it if it is to keep up with the construction work that is taking place across the UK, from roads and rail network construction, to the building of factories, schools and houses," said Cllr Wynn.
"The BEATS event is very much about raising the aspirations of our young people, so what better way than for our young learners to have their eyes opened to the highly-skilled, well-paid job opportunities in the construction industry and the state of art training facilities here at Coleg Cambria, both of which are on their doorstep."
Cllr Wynn revealed the initiative will also see pupils visit local building sites to give them a flavour of the variety of jobs available, before running a careers event later this year to gauge how interested those attending are in pursuing a career in construction.
"For those that are interested we will look at how we can help map out the GCSEs and A levels they'll need to study to secure their chosen career path," he added.
"It's all about raising educational attainment for our young people of all abilities, so we are excited to see what the results of BEATS will be.”
Ceri Rush-Jones, CITB Local Manager for North Wales said the day had been extremely positive and will give the pupils a clear insight into the opportunities available to them.
“We are keen to make sure the youngsters receive as much information as possible to help them shape their future aspirations in an informed way,” she said.
“By getting employers involved, it brings things to life and helps demonstrate what the world of 2work offers, especially in construction where roles range from trades to technical.
“And in hosting the event at Coleg Cambria pupils can see first-hand the facilities on offer for them to develop their career. “
The college will be holding an open event at the Bersham Road site on Wednesday November 21 from 5pm-8pm.