Construction students at London South East Colleges’ Kidbrooke Construction Skills Centre in Greenwich were treated to a very special practical workshop last week.
James Connell, Engineering Director at PERI Formworks Ltd, and his team of specialists came along to give students a demonstration of formwork equipment and methods that have revolutionised the construction and civil engineering sectors in recent years.
Formwork is the technology of creating moulds into which concrete or other materials can be poured. They can be built from timber, re-usable plastic or metal. PERI also manufacture scaffolding systems and plywood panels for a variety of construction requirements.
PERI is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of formwork and scaffolding systems in the world. With more than 7,000 employees worldwide in 60 subsidiaries and 110 warehouse locations, they serve construction sites in 95 countries. PERI participates in exciting projects all around the globe - such as the recent expansion of the Panama Canal.
Some of the highest buildings in the world, as well as many of its most complex structures are created with PERI formwork and scaffolding technology. Current projects include the new residential and retail spaces at the nearby Marine Wharf, the Mersey Gateway Bridge, the Bermondsey Drive Under and the Tottenham Court Road Underground Station upgrade.
The College hopes to build a partnership with PERI and other industry leaders (including Berkeley Group, Morrisroe, Getjar and Knight Dragon) in order to include formwork systems technology in its training programmes. Formwork training isn’t delivered by any other further education provider in London and the College hopes to launch this ambitious project in the Spring term to address the shortage of formwork specialists needed in the industry.
Bob Noseda, Sector Skills Executive at the College, has been instrumental in initiating the project and forging links with a number of important employers. Arriving for Friday’s launch event in Kidbrooke Village, he said: “Today is the beginning of a very important collaborative project with London South East Colleges, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and PERI Formworks, as well as a list of other interested parties. We hope to establish a programme of training that will enable our students to learn more about the advanced techniques used in today’s modern construction projects.
“This will go way beyond the traditional skillset offered by FE colleges and aims to involve industry specialists who can deliver advanced skills both at the College and at real construction locations.”
A special launch event welcomed guest speakers Cllr Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Sizwe James, Cabinet Member for Transport, Economy and Small Cities, and Head of Construction, Rob Lynch.
Cllr Hyland addressed the audience of candidates and special guests at the event. She said: “This programme will allow successful participants to gain specialist skills in a rapidly growing market in the construction industry. Formwork is not simply a construction sideshow - it is a career in its own right. As a trade it will only grow bigger and become more advanced in the future."
Later, a question and answer session panel included Andy Carson - Berkeley Group, James Connell - PERI Formwork, Dan Bannister and Davina Debidin - Morrisroe, Tony Sheehan – Getjar, and Neil Smith from Knight Dragon.
Charlie Duncumb, 33, from Plumstead, is amongst the first cohort of applicants hoping to join the programme in the Spring term. She said: “I believe that formwork will become very much part of the future and I want to be ready for it. Having these skills can be very lucrative and enable me to work on some huge construction projects both in the UK and abroad. Seeing the kind of structures that can be achieved and the amazing technology involved, I am quite excited about learning much more.”
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