London South East Colleges, working in partnership with Berkeley Homes, welcomed over 50 students from across three schools in the Royal Borough of Greenwich - Stationers' Crown Woods Academy, Thomas Tallis School and The Halley Academy, to take part in an exciting 'have a go' day this month. The students were given a taste of two very popular trades to promote construction as a potential career choice.

During the course of the day, boys and girls from the schools were given hands-on experience of brickwork and tiling/mosaic tasks at the Kidbrooke Construction Skills Centre; located directly in the very heart of the Village. A team of expert tutors were on-hand to teach them the skills involved, along with an interactive development walk by the Berkeley Homes team around what was formally the Ferrier Estate.

Jenni Carrott, Workplace Manager for Berkeley Homes said: "We found last year’s 'have a go' day to be very beneficial to the local school students, so we decided to expand our reach by inviting three schools this year. Everyone enjoyed the experience and several students have since approached us to ask about potential work experience opportunities in bricklaying. This is fantastic news and shows us the event has done what we hoped; it has given students a flavour of what construction is all about, and added it as an option when considering their future careers."

Kidbrooke Village is currently nine years into a 23-year project which will see just under 5,000 new homes built before 2032, with a village centre, revamped train station and a bounty of green space for community events and leisure activities to take place in.

With more than a decade of work still to come, Andy Wallis Director of Construction for Berkeley Homes said: "Kidbrooke Village still has so much development to come, so it’s great to give local school children more of an understanding of the scale of opportunities on their doorstep. After all, some of the students that attended today could well gain professions and have the opportunity to work there in years to come.”

Robert Lynch, Head of STEM at the Kidbrooke Construction Skills Centre recognises the importance of schools, colleges and businesses working together and said: "This is the second event of this type held at Kidbrooke. It presents us with a golden opportunity to engage with local schools and their students and provide them with a short but enlightening introduction and awareness of the construction industry.”

Students and their teachers expressed their approval and satisfaction at the event. Thomas Tallis teacher Lauren How was suitably impressed with the activities laid-on for her group. She said: “I was unsure as to whether the students would enjoy this trip or not. I shouldn’t have worried; they loved it. In fact, I have not seen them work together in teams the way they have today. I think they have learnt a lot.”

Steven Butts, a teacher from Halley Academy told us: “I think the event has started something with our students. Before we even left the centre I was being asked if we could do it again and perhaps include some other trades next time. Something tells me I won’t have any problems drumming up interest for the next trip.”

Student, Tyler thoroughly enjoyed the bricklaying challenge. Putting the finishing touches to his newly built wall, he commented: “I’ve never done this before and always wanted to have a go at building something from scratch. Its great fun and I’d love to learn much more about brickwork, plumbing and carpentry. Thank you to my teachers for bringing me here today.”

If you think you have what it takes to become a construction trade professional and would like to build a successful career in the building services and built environment industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses and apprenticeship opportunities to get you started. Come along to one of our open events. Click here to learn more.

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