Watford’s BRE helps Herts students break construction ‘summer camp’
Hemel Hempstead, 11 August 2017 - Ten fortunate students from schools across Hertfordshire have spent a week at a construction ‘summer camp’
The year 10 students from schools in Watford, St Albans, Harpenden, Kings Langley, Welwyn and Hemel Hempstead visited the £25 million Nishkam School in West London which is under construction, looked around the BRE (Building Research Establishment) in Garston to see the houses of the future, and were challenged to design, plan and build a housing development.
The week was organised by BAM’s South East team, headed by June Wilkinson, the education and community co-ordinator who has arranged this as her third summer camp. Said June: ‘It’s brilliant to see these young people develop in confidence as the week progresses. We divide them into two groups of five so they have to interact with each other to tackle the group challenges and it really draws them out. That shows them how important teamwork is to construction. We’ve been running the summer school for three years now, and some of the students I saw a couple of years ago have started to return for further work experience, and this is what is so rewarding. The week is a real eye-opener because the more students see of what we do, they realise the skills and careers this sector offers.’
BAM’s Early Careers Manager gave the students an insight to careers and roles that are available, and one of the region’s site managers explained what his role involves.
The students have to pass an interview to attend the camp, because places are over-subscribed.
‘Even those who don’t make it onto the summer camp get some benefits because many have never done an interview and the feedback itself is useful information for them’, June adds.
Charlie Reading, 15, from Kings Langley School, said: ‘We had to work out which materials were most sustainable, and how to reduce the energy bills, as well as how long it would take to build and what the penalties were for being late. It made us work together. The part I most enjoyed was visiting the Nishkam school build where they were using expanding fireproof paint. It’s a massive school for nearly 1,800 students from the age of five to 18. I was also impressed by all the things they do for the community. I saw BAM at the careers fair at Kings Langley School. I was interested in construction because I’m fascinated about how they plan the Underground. This seemed like an exciting thing to do and I’ll definitely think about construction as a possible future career.’
Joel Gilhooly, also 15, from Sir John Henry Newman School in Stevenage, said: ‘I’m studying art and I’m a very visual learner so I loved seeing the designs for the houses of the future at the BRE. I was thinking about an architectural degree but I think this has opened my eyes to a wider range of opportunities. So long as it’s got design.’
Further information: Mark Slattery, Press and Media Manager, BAM Construct UK Ltd, 01442 238415.