On the tools with Sentinel
Published by Karen Connell for Sentinel Housing Association Ltd in Housing and also in Communities, Education
From left to right: Ryan Greatorex, 19, from Basingstoke, Peter Rigg BCoT Tutor, Ben Long, 19, from Basingstoke and Bradley Maguire, 19 , from Yateley.
Sentinel Housing Association has teamed up with Basingstoke College of Technology to provide construction diploma students with real bricklaying practice on soon-to-be-redeveloped buildings in Basingstoke.
The initiative comes as part of Sentinel’s commitment to foster workplace skills in the local community and increase employment opportunities for young people. It also brings significant benefits in terms of increased site security during a crucial phase of housing regeneration in the Oakridge area of Basingstoke.
BCoT students working towards a level 2 diploma in bricklaying have been given the opportunity to develop their trade by bricking up the doors and windows (once the glass has been safely removed) in the emptied blocks of flats on Freemantle and Taverner Close. The buildings are due to be regenerated and replaced with new, high quality and affordable housing, but not before they’ve been used as real-world site experience for trainee bricklayers to complement their classroom learning.
Director of Development at Sentinel Mike Shepherd explains: “We are delighted to link up with BCoT and give students the chance to put theory into practice on our sites. This community initiative provides much-needed site experience and the opportunity to advance skills and qualifications in construction.”
Bricklaying tutor at BCoT Peter Rigg adds: “This is a wonderful and motivating experience for my students, and it’s improving their skills noticeably.” Second-year bricklaying student Bradley Maguire aged 19 from Yateley agrees: “It’s best to get hands-on with brickwork as you get a real feel for it. It’s better than learning about it in a classroom, plus you get to use proper equipment and materials.”
Head of construction at BCoT Alan Dilly comments: “The good thing about this project is working with the community while giving the students real work experience – with all the additional challenges of an actual construction site.”
Sentinel’s partnership with BCoT is part of the company’s growing campaign to encourage work-based learning. The announcement comes during the same month that Sentinel welcomed a new cohort of apprentices who will be working at the association while studying towards their housing NVQs. Both BCoT and Sentinel hope that this is just the start of a strong alliance, reinforcing their overall objectives to tackle unemployment and boost workplace training opportunities for local young people.
To find out more about Sentinel’s new housing regeneration project in Oakridge, and related community consultation activities, visit www.sentinelha.org.uk/newhorizons