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West Suffolk College Carpentry Students Set the Benchmark for Training.

A group of West Suffolk College carpentry Apprentices and students were picked as the first in Europe to be taught how to use a new cladding system that is being put on thousands of newly built homes.

Gareth Kennedy from James Hardie, a worldwide company which makes HardiePlank, a low maintenance fibre cement cladding, said they chose the College because of its reputation. Andy Coote, from eastern regional suppliers Uplastics based in Newmarket also said he was an Apprentice at the College 22 years ago.

“These Apprentices and students are the future people on building sites”, said Mr Kennedy. “They were very receptive and everyone was attentive and asked good questions. This is the benchmark for us going to other colleges. When they go onto building sites they will know more than their bosses.”

After the theory session students were able to have a practical workshop learning how to put the cladding on buildings correctly.

Brian Tunbridge, lecturer in Wood Trades, said the sessions were “A brilliant opportunity to have a worldwide company involved with learners and we are pleased to be the first ones they have trained”.

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