From education to employment

Coventry students get a glimpse of £25m city centre development to enhance their real-world learning

Construction students in Coventry were invited behind the scenes of a £25m city centre development to gain top-level industry experience – almost a year after their classmates learnt about the project as part of a virtual work placement.   

Senior management and the wider project team at Farrans Construction welcomed eight Level 3 Electrical Installation students from Coventry College to Elliott’s Yard, in London Road, for a long-awaited site visit that had been delayed by Covid-19.

Students were given the chance to witness how a major modern development operates and put their questions to the experts as they received an access-all-areas tour of the site.

Farrans partnered with Coventry College in May 2021 to pilot ‘Step Towards Employment’, a new virtual work experience programme, giving learners the opportunity to deal with real life scenarios and complex challenges while developing their skillsets and theoretical knowledge ready for use in the workplace.

A site visit had been planned but later cancelled to due Covid-19 regulations. Farrans and Coventry College joined forces after restrictions were lifted to give the current crop of students the chance to visit the site.

The project, built on the site of Elliott’s Car Accessories, is a luxury 17-storey residential development consisting of two buildings and 200 apartments.

Its construction relied on an environmentally friendly approach that was highlighted on Farrans’ Step Towards Employment Programme.

After a presentation about the origins of the project, students were given a tour of the build, which has used a number of modern methods of construction (MMC) with a focus on sustainability and environment friendly processes.

The group was kitted out in five-point PPE courtesy of Farrans and given a safety briefing about what is expected while moving around the working areas.

Sarah Fearon, Community Business Partner at Farrans Construction, said: We are proud of our community development programmes particularly our virtual work experience, Step Towards Employment Programme and the impact it has generated. This was developed in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks – a framework of eight guidelines for careers provision which offers online, interactive access to six modules outlining the breadth of careers available in the industry.

Recognising that this programme is the first steppingstone to employment we are delighted to have been given the news that a student has since been successfully employed as a result of engaging in this all-encompassing educational initiative. Our continued collaboration with Coventry College is key to our goal of leaving a lasting legacy.

Farrans also donated five refurbished laptops to the college to help students with their end-of-year assignments.

Helen Bradley, Industry Placement Co-ordinator at Coventry College, said: “It was great to see the students getting involved and asking some great questions as they were taken around the site.

“They enjoyed having the chance to see how a major development works and how they would play their part if they brought their skills to a project of this size.

“We place a huge amount of value in the willingness of local employers to take an interest in our students, and this visit, along with the virtual work that Farrans has been doing with our students and the laptop donation, will go a long way towards preparing them for a career in the construction industry.”

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