Pupils get first hand building site experience to plug skills shortage

Construction apprentice on site

Norfolk pupils are set to learn construction skills through first hand experience, including apprenticeships and building site visits. - Credit: Lovell

Pupils are set to learn construction skills through first hand experience following a partnership between a housing developer and Norfolk schools.

Lovell, part of construction firm Morgan Sindall, is working with the Wensum Trust, whose secondary schools include Hellesdon High, Alderman Peel High in Wells and Acle Academy. 

As part of a drive to tackle the skills shortages in the construction industry, the project aims to bring building skills into the curriculum and provide opportunities for young people to learn more first-hand. 

The partnership will begin in September with the sponsorship of two students from Acle Academy, which will lead onto apprenticeships the following year at Lovell’s development in Acle.

A longer term commitment will see students at all the non-for-profit trust’s high schools given on-site opportunities, and the trust embedding construction into the curriculum for 11 to 16-year-olds.

Lovell regional director Simon Medler.

Lovell regional director Simon Medler. - Credit: Archant

Having worked his way up to the top job after starting out himself as a carpentry apprentice, Simon Medler, regional managing director of Lovell in East Anglia, said the company was keen to provide opportunities for local youngsters

“Working with The Wensum Trust is a real opportunity to spark that excitement and interest in construction at a young age, show students the pathway to a career in the sector and give them practical skills for the future,” he said.


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“As well as visiting the Acle Academy to provide workshops and talks, students will get the opportunity to come to the site, meet the team and see first-hand what is on offer.”

Daniel Thrower, chief executive of the Wensum Trust in Norwich. Picture: Wensum Trust

Daniel Thrower, chief executive of the Wensum Trust in Norwich.  - Credit: Wensum Trust

Daniel Thrower, Wensum Trust chief executive, said: “The government is aware of the skills shortages in construction and working with Lovell we can provide our students with a broad range of skills, open the door to a career in the industry and showcase and educate our students on construction and jobs in the sector including project managers, architects, geologists, environmental science, as well as bricklayers and carpenters.”

Mangers from Lovell and The Wensum Trust with Acler Academy pupils at the housing development site in Acle. 

Mangers from Lovell and The Wensum Trust with Acler Academy pupils at the housing development site in Acle. - Credit: Lovell

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John Smith, chair of Wensum Trust board, said: “Providing learning outside the classrooms and at different environments and settings is so important for youngsters."

He added that by September 2022 it would be "fully embedded" in the curriculum at the academy.

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