Salford pupils build strong learning foundations with Keepmoat
Published by Kelly Elliott for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities
From l-r: Bob Hanlon (Keepmoat Contracts Manager), Callum Van Dieman (pupil), Holly Oxton (pupil), Nathan Anderton (Keepmoat QS), Chris Renshaw (pupil), James Chant (pupil) and Arthur Hallworth (Keepmoat Design Manager).
Staff from leading UK house builder Keepmoat went back to school to teach pupils about working in the construction industry.
Pupils at St George’s High School, in Worsley, planned and designed a new school building and constructed models during a day-long skills workshop with members of Bramall Construction, part of Keepmoat.
Staff visited the school as part of the company’s work to support Salford Business Education Partnership, an initiative which facilitates work related learning in the city’s schools.
The year nine youngsters also had a chance to learn about careers in the construction industry and about the qualifications needed to find a job in the sector.
The Keepmoat Building Project was based on a real life new build school – the Varna Street Primary School, in Openshaw – a £6.55m project which has just been completed by Keepmoat, on behalf of Manchester City Council as part of the framework one agreement.
During the project, Keepmoat’s design manager Arthur Hallworth kept pupils on their toes by introducing problems and challenges similar to those experienced by Keepmoat during the real life project – such as adapting the designs to make the school bigger and having to ensure footpaths remained open.
Mr Hallworth said: “The youngsters from St George’s were really enthusiastic and worked incredibly hard on the project. They were brimming with ideas and put a great deal of thought and effort into their designs. They learned a lot - and we learned a great deal from them as well.
“We started off by telling them about job opportunities in the industry as well as Keepmoat’s extensive work around sustainability and home refurbishment. We then talked to them about our recent new build project at Varna Street Primary School before setting them the task of planning and designing their own school and making models.”
At the end of the workshop, Mr Hallworth showed pupils photos from the real Varna Street Primary School project, as well as presenting those taking part with certificates.
He added “It was a great opportunity for us to get the message across about working in the construction industry. There are lots of exciting career opportunities out there and it was encouraging to hear how much interest there was among the pupils about working in the industry.
“The feedback we had from the youngsters was incredibly positive and it was fantastic to have a chance to inspire the next generation of house builders.”
The visit from Keepmoat was part of the school’s annual technology week, which aims to make pupils more aware of the type of jobs available within the sector.
Head of Technology Philip Westcott said: “Technology week is great because it gives pupils the chance to meet people from the business world face to face, find out about what they do and ask questions.
“They really enjoyed the session with Keepmoat, especially the practical aspect of designing their own school and there was a lot of interest from the pupils afterwards, with many wanting to find out more about the building industry.
“We hope to work with Keepmoat again in the future, hopefully building on the project we started by turning the pupil’s designs for a new school into a 3D model.”
Nichola Morrish, of the Salford Business Education Partnership, said: “The impact of organisations such as Keepmoat in delivering these applied learning activities cannot be underestimated.
“By working alongside industry professionals pupils can see the variety of opportunity that is available in the construction industry, as well as picking up some of the important skills and qualities they will need to develop to be successful in the working world, whatever they choose to do.
“Young people will face an increasingly changing and difficult jobs market in the future, so any investment of time from volunteers to demonstrate to young people the skills and vision they will need is always appreciated.”
Community regeneration and housing specialist Keepmoat was formed earlier this year by the merger of two companies - Apollo and Keepmoat Group. The new company employs 3,500 staff across 20 regional offices spanning the length and breadth of the UK.
In the Greater Manchester area, the company is currently working with City West Housing to carry out refurbishment work to 1,500 of the housing association’s properties as part of its decent homes programme. This includes fitting new kitchens and bathrooms and carrying out re-wiring. Keepmoat have been working with City West Housing for the last three years.
Keepmoat is also pleased to announce that they are part of a consortium that has been named by Salford City Council as the preferred partner for a 30 year contract to help Create a New Pendleton.
The consortium led by the Together Housing Group will be responsible for building 1,600 new homes, modernising more than 1,200 homes, providing excellent housing management services and creating 500 new jobs and 2,000 work experience opportunities.