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Left to right – Lewis Tolley NSETC student, Jack Reid, Assistant Site Manager, BAM Construct UK, James Gibbon NSETC student

Real-life experience for NSETC students

Construction of new North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College provides work experience opportunities for students

Posted by Hannah Oakman | March 09, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC), a free school for pupils aged 14-19 that is part of the Inspirational Futures Trust group of academies, has arranged placements for some of its own students on the site for its new £12 million building in Weston-super-Mare.

Four year 12 engineering NSETC students have been engaged in long-term work experience for one day a week with BAM Construct UK, which is presently creating the new school at the Junction 21 Enterprise Area in Weston-super-Mare. Another four year 10 students and four year 11 civil engineering students have also spent a full consecutive week on site.

The students have also benefited from careers advice from BAM, including a careers seminar and construction trips to the site to see milestones of the build being completed, such as pouring concrete for the base of the building. The construction work on the site has provided research opportunities for the students’ projects.

NSETC Principal, Karen Cornick, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to use the construction of the new building as an opportunity to bring our students’ studies to life.

“At NSETC we provide an innovative approach to learning with a STEM focus. Students are given the opportunity to experience real work so they can understand the skills that employers need. They also receive up-to-date industry-led recruitment advice so that they are aware of the future opportunities available to them and know what they need to achieve in school in order to be ahead of the field when it comes to applications.”

NSETC students are currently located at Weston College’s South West Skills Campus, where they have been based since NSETC was launched in September 2014.

At NSETC in the Composite Lab – Left to right: NSETC Principal Karen Cornick; Lewis Tolley; James Gibbon

James Gibbon, 18, and Lewis Tolley, 17, who are both in the second year of a BTEC level 3 engineering course, are among the students who have attended the site for regular work experience which has included field project management, project planning, and health and safety.

A faded yellow line on the concrete floor of the building provides a tangible sign of the preparation work they have been undertaking at the new NSETC building, which is scheduled to be completed this summer.

James, who attended Worle Community School before enrolling at NSETC, explained that they had to mark out the line as part of a setting out process to create a base line 500mm away from where a wall would be built, keeping it in line with the site plan drawings.

“Everything on a building site is done according to grid lines, and we had to set out the points,” he said.

“We’re doing a general engineering course, and this isn’t something we have covered so it has been really interesting to learn about it as part of work experience.”

Lewis Tolley, who previously attended Hans Price Academy, added that they had learned how to do setting out using a theodolite camera.

“You have to focus the camera at a target and shoot to get a reading, which you have to co-ordinate to grid lines,” he said.

Emma Bull, Education and Community Manager at BAM Construct UK, said: “This latest work experience programme has been an excellent way for the students to get involved in the real design development, reviewing the drawings we use to build the project.

“The students have gained an understanding of drawn design and its correlation to on-site implementation including material choices and aesthetic and structural considerations taken to ensure a quality, fit for purpose building for the school.”    

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