Local Year 10 pupils who spent a week of their summer holidays gaining an insight into the construction industry have spoken of how valuable the experience was.
The 10 pupils, who are halfway through their GCSE courses, attended a summer school run by local contractor BAM Construction. They secured CREST Bronze Awards for their intensive efforts, which count towards Duke of Edinburgh accreditation as well as towards the Children's University Passport to Learning.
The pupils were taken on a visit to BAM’s King’s Cross Central site in London as well as receiving talks from specialists in a range of fields including planning, health and safety and sustainability. They were tasked with designing a housing development for 10 homes to include sustainable materials and technologies.
The week concluded with the pupils giving presentations of their own designs to a panel of BAM experts and a representative of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
Adam from Kings Langley School said: “This week has helped me to have a better understanding of construction roles, which has given me a better idea of what job I would like to go into.
“The fact that I got to meet professional architects and other construction professionals has been thrilling to understand how their school life worked out for them and how some of them dramatically changed careers. Before coming to BAM I had a pretty good idea what profession was for me – now hearing other sides to construction it has broadened my mind what job would actually suit me.”
Tamsin from St Albans Girls School said: “The activity has given me insight and a desire to learn more on this topic and I found it interesting to experience. STEM courses seem more appealing and the STEM careers seem more attainable now that I have gained this experience.”
BAM education and community co-ordinator June Wilkinson said the firm was keen to encourage young people into the construction industry.
“As a national contractor with offices in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, we wanted to build our relationships with local schools and give pupils in the area an opportunity to benefit from the skills and experience we have on their doorstep. Using the CREST Award in Sustainable Communities developed by CITB allowed us to show how science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills taught in schools are used in the world of work.
“The feedback we received has been really positive, and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality shown in the presentations. We hope to run the event again next year, and to offer some of this year’s pupils more tailored work experience in the future. Who knows, we may end up with some of them working on major projects for BAM one day.”
CITB careers adviser James Thomas said he was impressed by the attitude of the students and the level of attention and interest that they showed throughout the week.
“Their motivation and positivity was due to the hard work BAM put in, producing a very interactive week of workshops and talks with industry professionals. The resulting presentations at the end of the week were very impressive and amazed all the judges,” he said.
Pupils attended the BAM summer school from The Hemel Hempstead School, Kings Langley School, Marlborough School, Queens’ School in Bushey, Rickmansworth School, Roundwood Park School in Harpenden and Parmiters School in Watford as well as from St Albans Girls School and Aylesbury High School.