From education to employment

Building students gain first-hand experience on own construction site

Students at Leeds College of Building are gaining hands-on construction experience after visiting their new £13-million Hunslet campus site.

Main contractor, Clugston Construction, started work on the foundations and ground works last October. Since then, a total of 186 student site visits and 14 group tours have been organised up until June. 

The tours – covering various phases of construction – were led by Clugston Project Manager, Steve Hornby, and Site Manager, Jon Cousins. A further two student workshops were also delivered regarding construction planning, ground works, and substructures.

Leeds College of Building has received an £11.9m investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal for the project – a £1 billion package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region. 

As a result of the project, two bricklaying students are due to start work placements on site soon, and a Clugston trainee engineer working on site now attends Leeds College of Building for tuition. Additional placement opportunities are being explored with contractor Clugston and project supply-chain partners.

Derek Whitehead, Deputy Principal at Leeds College of Building, said: 
“Developing the employability skills of our students is a key strategy for the College, which also links in with the Leeds City Region Employment and Skills Plan and addressing the skills gap in the construction sector. Site visits and work placement opportunities provide students with invaluable experience; they benefit immensely from being able to experience life on a live site. What’s even more rewarding is that the students will be able to make informed decisions on their career paths in the industry.”

Bob Vickers, CEO of Clugston Group, said: 
“This is a superb project for Clugston to be involved with and especially because it will play such an important role in contributing to the future talent of the construction sector, at a time when there are clear skills shortages in the industry.  We already boast an enviable track-record throughout the education sector and this new campus is made even more prevalent by the fact that it will showcase our work to future construction workers for generations to come.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“Increasing the number of local apprentices trained in construction is key to building a brighter future for everyone in the Leeds City Region. The new Leeds College of Building centre, in Hunslet Road, will lay the foundations for students all over the region to start their careers in the construction industry, helping us to address the skills gap in the sector and boosting our economic growth now and in the years to come.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority board member, said: 
“The Leeds College of Building campus will help equip 6,500 students a year with the skills they need to succeed in the construction industry. This boost is essential as we continue to grow the Leeds economy both across the city and in what is fast becoming a thriving hub of high-quality educational facilities on the South Bank.”

Construction work is well underway on the development after a 400-tonne steel frame was erected last month. The building envelope structural metal framing is progressing, as is the external masonry and internal block work, floor slabs, roof construction, and M&E installations commenced from the end of April.

The state-of-the-art, 5,200 square metre, four-storey building, which complements the recent phase 1 development, will offer a range of classrooms, workshops and an impressive central atrium.  Leeds College of Building will be offering a wide range of the traditional courses within the facilities including mechanical and electrical, plumbing and heating programmes, as well as being able to provide more training in the ever-expanding area of BIM technology. The building will also offer purpose-designed classrooms for the College’s Higher Education courses.

Designed by Fuse Studios, this phase-two development of the Hunslet campus will sit in a prominent position alongside the existing Leeds College of Building South Bank campus (between Cudbear Street and Black Bull Street). Work is being project managed by Robert Hardy at CPC Project Services and will complete towards the end of 2018. 

As part of the £11.9m grant funding (through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal), £1m will be spent refurbishing Leeds College of Building’s North Street campus.  Once complete, a large proportion of Leeds College of Building’s 6,500 students will then attend the two South Bank sites, with the remainder using the College’s North Street campus.

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