School leavers interested in a career in the construction industry are now able to try each specialist field before they settle on what to study.
Furness College has developed an innovative programme enabling its students to try all four areas – carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, plastering and brickwork – before they decide which one they want to pursue.
After the 10 week ‘carousel’ round the four areas they can then pick one and complete a City and Guilds Level 1 Award and Diploma in Construction Skills.
Graeme Shaw, who leads construction at the college, said all the construction trades were in high demand in the area.
“The work our students produce enables them to go into industry with top quality skills. But we know not all 16 year olds are sure what to specialise in so this course has been restructured to make sure they get a taste of everything before they decide.”
He said changes had excellent feedback from Ofsted in the recent inspection in which the college was graded good.
Luke Gibson, who is a student on the Level 1 Construction Skills at Channelside campus, chose to specialise in bricklaying.
He said: This course has taught me many new skills, given me confidence and shown me I am capable. Prior to college, I had no experience in the trade but now I have been on work placements.”
The college offers a full construction programme and, from September, is introducing a HNC in Construction and the Built Environment, a two-year part-time course run in the evening.
Head of Area Kate Coleburn said: “Our construction students can progress here from entry level right through to higher education to ensure they have the right skills and attitude to meet the growing need for qualified tradespeople.
“We are also keen to hear from any past students who want to come back and complete the next stage of their learning with us, to help them up the career ladder.
“In addition, our recent night-school classes in brickwork, plastering and carpentry and joinery have been oversubscribed, so there is a lot of interest in these skills. We are planning to run more courses due to demand.”
Any Year 10 or Year 11 students interested in trying construction courses can get in touch with Graeme Shaw on email@example.com