Construction Students from Sunderland College were offered valuable on-site training from community regeneration specialist, Keepmoat; during a visit to a former fire station which is being restored.
Keepmoat is currently undertaking restoration works to the iconic building on High Street West, as part of a £3m project. The firm is delivering the scheme on behalf of Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust in partnership with Sunderland City Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
HNC (Higher National Certificate) Construction students from the college were invited to the site to gain an insight into the work involved in the restoration of the iconic building, including what goes on behind the scenes before work starts. They were introduced to the site team including the Quantity Surveyor to develop an understanding of the finer detail for developer requirements; while gaining insight into the various construction and restoration methods.
Geoff Scott, Employment and Skills Manager for Keepmoat, explained: “Training is a pivotal part of any job, but this is particularly true of construction. It’s only when you get on-site and see first-hand the steps which are taken to deliver major restoration or regeneration projects, that you gain a real understanding of the industry.
“Keepmoat is in an enviable position where we can introduce students to modern methods of construction and provide that vital on-site training to help entice more youngsters into this great field and that’s something we are passionate about.
“We have a responsibility to work collaboratively with our partners and support local schools and colleges, to tackle the skills shortage our field is potentially facing. It was a pleasure to host the students from Sunderland College and we hope to be working with them in the not too distant future.”
Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive of Sunderland College, said: “Our HNC Construction students were delighted to witness the major renovation works of such a historic building that has played a pivotal role in the safekeeping of the city over the years.
“They benefitted greatly from the visit and were given a clear insight into how they can apply the practical and theoretical skills they are learning through their HNC, once they secure a career in the construction industry. Keepmoat are a valued partner of the College we work closely with all of our partners to ensure all our students access high-quality training and work experience options throughout their chosen course, while addressing and taking measures to help prevent skills shortages in the region.”
The former fire station will soon welcome a cafe and restaurant on the ground floor, with drama and music studios and a heritage centre on the upper floors. The new hub is aimed at attracting a number of generations to become involved in music, dance, comedy and theatre while understanding the history and heritage of this part of Sunderland.
The new hub is expected to open in Autumn 2017.