HIGHER up the construction careers ladder

Monday 20 March 2017

Going back to college is helping men and women in construction progress up the career ladder.

By signing up for the workplace focussed Higher National Certificate in Construction and Built Environment Certificate, assistant estimators and site managers are winning promotions.

Even one day can be difficult to take out of a busy on-site working week, but the teaching team at Bedford College know how to be flexible to keep the wheels of industry turning.

“We have people who are a key part of a team responsible for multi-million pound projects and they simply have to keep in touch with the site during the day, and we understand that,” says lecturer Claire Cartwright, a former surveyor with Mouchel, the international building company,

“We make sure that our courses are kept right up to date with construction industry demands. We have representatives from employers joining us to give presentations and I spend my holiday time visiting sites where I can.”

“We are the only college offering land surveying, and students report that the training they have with us makes it an easy move on to a full degree-level course.”

Pictured left, keeping the on-site experience alive with the latest equipment are Sam Green, of Flitwick, an Assistant Site Manager for Bowmer & Kirkland, Ross Flavin, Assistant Site Manager of Priory Gate Construction of Dunstable, and Lorraine Bennie, an Assistant Estimator of Keepmoat.

Sarah Saynor, aged 37, of Sandy moved from sales into being a project manager for FSG Property Services in Milton Keynes. She signed up for the HNC course at Bedford because it is not available at MK College. Some of her colleagues also make the quick journey along the A421 bypass to attend the “helpful” Bedford College.

Brandon Black, aged 22, of Dunstable, works for Pellikaan as an Assistant Site Manager. He came to Bedford when Barnfield College stopped running a relevant course. “It’s all very good here at Bedford, they make sure it is relevant to my work.”

Engineering a higher stage

Toby Hunt, of Flitwick, who joined Bedford College one day a week aged 14 is now an Assistant Project Manager for Princebuild Ltd

Lecturer Claire Cartwright says Toby is a great example of a chatty teenager who is now a young professional and confidently gave a presentation to engineering leaders at an important college event.

“We were so proud to see Toby speaking at the official launch of the Advanced Engineering Centre. When the centre opens in 2018/19 it will be the place where students like Toby, who are taking HNC’s and HND’s in construction industry skills, will be taking classes.”

Progression from the age of 16 as full-time students or apprentices, on to Higher or degree-level learning is possible. For those aged 19+ apprenticeship funding for Higher level certification is available to employers who want to help staff develop into tomorrow’s managers.

Higher ground with heritage

30 first year students on the HNC in Construction & HNC in Civil Engineering courses, visited Clophill Church & Eco Lodges in support of their Design Principles studies. 

Project Manager Ali Bradbury gave them a talk regarding the design and planning of the Clophill project followed by a tour of the site. Further visits have been planned to look at materials used in the project and to discuss the environmental factors that affected the design. 

Students found the visit excellent and are planning to join in some of the various public events that take place there.

To thank Alison, who is also Chief Operating Officer of the Clophill Heritage Trust, for giving up her time to show them a real life heritage project in action, students raised £190 towards the fund.

More information about the site can be found at http://clophillecolodges.org.uk/

Cash for constructing higher careers

From the age of 16 onwards people training with Bedford College can make great progress in their construction careers.

But now, thanks to the new Government Apprenticeship Levy, funding for training can be accessed by employers for staff already in middle management roles, but who need Higher level professional certification.

“Apprenticeship funding for 16- 18 year olds continues to be readily available but there is also money coming to help train that 25-year-old who is acting up in a professional role, like an Assistant Project Manager,” explains Construction Head of Department Dave Wilkins,

“Higher Apprenticeships will cut the cost for employers who want to up-skill their existing staff. It does mean day a week in college, but here we understand the demands on busy people who are juggling the demands of running a site with being in class. We have project managers who are taking phone calls in the corridor from sites whilst getting through the coursework here.”

“We offer the complete range of training here, from full-time 16 year olds who we help towards jobs, apprentices in the 16 - 18 age group and those aged 19 and over. HNC and HND qualifications supporting a wide range of careers in construction from being a surveyor, to a civil engineer, a contracts, site or project manager are all available.”

“The key message to employers is to ask us first about training and funding via the new Apprenticeship Levy which makes funds available to most organisations. It can be used to re-train staff who are in perhaps a non-construction role but realise they have great coordination skills which are required for running a site.”

For more information on our construction courses go to bedford.ac.uk/our-courses/subjects/construction


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