Good New Stories

A Virtual Site Visit

Carillion Open Doors Site Visit — Bringing the curriculum to ‘life’!

Fifteen Year 10 students from the Northumberland Church of England Academy had a guided tour around the Carillion’s Vita Newcastle student accommodation project as part of Open Doors Week (13 – 18 June 2016).

The students are studying the BTEC Level 2 in Construction & the Built Environment and were hoping see in reality what they were learning in the classroom.

During the site tour, led by Project Manager Leanne Swainston, and Project Planner Colin Fish, the students were given detailed explanations about what they were viewing and why it has been built that way.

In smaller groups, they were shown a marketing suite of a student studio room first, a comfortable double bedroom with en-suite shower, kitchen facilities, wall-mounted TV and working space.

The tour gave the students an opportunity to learn about important construction terminology, modern methods of construction, the make-up of the industry as well as an introduction to the key roles and responsibilities of the site team. Leanne and Colin also provided them with guidance around employability skills and the wide range of benefits working in construction can bring.

All this information relates directly their BTEC studies where the students are required to know about different forms of construction, the range of construction builds and the contribution the industry makes to society.

Mark Fox, Careers Adviser from the Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington commented: “The Open Doors visit was an excellent experience for our Year 10 students, many of whom had never had the opportunity to experience a real construction site. Numerous curriculum links were made for the students, all of whom were studying BTEC level 2 Construction, and the visit brought the subject to life for them.”

One of the students commented about the Open Doors experience: “It's cool, better than just learning in class all the time,”

The Northumberland Church of England Academy are now looking forward to future Open Doors site visits.

Vita Newcastle Project Facts

  • Contractor: Carillion
  • Value: £15.5m
  • Location: Newcastle
  • Start date: November 2014
  • Completion date: July 2016
  • Project Type: Student accommodation

A Virtual Site Visit

Carillion & Built Environment Skills in Schools working in partnership

When students were struggling to attend an Open Doors site visit in person at Paradise Circus in Birmingham due to flooding in the area, Carillion and Built Environment Skills in Schools teamed up to come up with an innovative solution – they brought the site to the students, and broadcast a ‘virtual’ site visit via using the Periscope app.

Students, teachers and people interested from all around the world were able to tune into the site visit from the comfort of their own home and classrooms via their phone, tablet or the Periscope site.

The virtual site visit involved the Community Regeneration Manager, Neil Rudge giving the virtual visitors a low down on the Paradise development, what it will bring to the city including its lasting legacy, and the impact and opportunities that are being created in jobs and skills.

Visitors found out more about some of the challenges faced by construction developments including safety, finance, quality, transport, infrastructure, protecting the communities we work within through monitoring air quality and acoustic noise levels.

The live broadcast had 72 viewers at its highest point and the video of the visit was then posted on social media and resulted in over 100 views to date.

Kathryn Lennon Johnson from Built Environment Skills in Schools commented:

“Technology will play an increasingly significant part in the future of construction, and it’s so important to encourage young people to explore construction using tools and technologies they're already comfortable with”

Neil Rudge at Carillion commented:

“The Open Doors initiative is something that Carillion has long engaged with and find it a great way to interact with the communities in which we work. The opportunity to speak to the public and explain what we are doing on the landmark development at Paradise Birmingham was hugely enjoyable for us and hopefully those who watched the broadcast!”

This is a great example of Open Doors, contractors and partners coming together to provide an alternative and innovative Open Doors experience.

Please see social media links YouTube and Facebook for more information.

Paradise Circus Project Facts

  • Contractor: Carillion
  • Value: £40 million
  • Location: Birmingham
  • Start date: January 2015
  • Completion date: March 2018
  • Project Type: Enabling works including Demolition, Groundworks and Civil Engineering

Open Doors – Inspiring a Future Generation

John*, a full time student living in the South of England studying a BTEC in Business Studies at his local college was looking for options of what do career wise. Although he enjoyed his BTEC, he was looking for an alternative career to pursue.

A family friend who works for a construction company, recommended he booked an Open Doors site visit to gain a 'real' insight into the construction industry and find out more about a career opportunities.

He booked onto the Lendlease Open Doors site in London and was impressed with what he saw. The visit allowed him to gain a good understanding of the wide range of careers in construction. He met some positive role models who inspired him to seriously consider a career in construction and commented:

“What I didn’t realise were all the different places you can work in construction. You go from working in an office, to working on a construction site and that variety really appeals to me”

Mark Louden from Lendlease commented:

“With the industry in the thralls of a skills shortage, it is now more important than ever to get young people interested in construction as a career. The day provided a wonderful insight in to how varied and interesting a career in construction can be. Once the visit was finished, one young visitor in particular wanted to know more about what happened out on site and the day-to-day role of a construction manager, so it was agreed that he could shadow our Assistant Construction Manager, Jack Wood.”

This is an excellent example of how Open Doors can inspire people to choose a career in construction.

*Name changed to protect confidentiality.

Opening Doors for Jobcentre Plus in Wales

Three Jobcentre Plus staff visited the Kier site, Coleg y Cymoedd, where a new college campus is being built in Aberdare South Wales as part of Open Doors 2016.

During the site visit they learnt vital information about the the complexities of the site and the change in trade requirements, for example on some sites Shuttering Carpenters are no longer required. They were also updated on the change in fashion trends with regard to building materials learning that brick is the new black and cedar is the new “pebble dash”!

Ellen Saunders, Employment Adviser at JobcentrePlus who took part in the site visit commented: “All three of us were blown away by the visit. It really opened our eyes to the planning and organisation involved in a project of this size .It also brought to our attention to the different construction trade needs. For example, we were advised that Architects were going back to using brickwork in their designs but there was a lack of experienced bricklayers.”

Ellen and her colleagues have taken this useful information to help inform the information, advice and guidance they provide to Jobcentre Plus clients who are interested in a career in construction.

As a result of the visit they have now set up a work experience programme linked to construction and are looking forward to visiting the site again as it develops and other trades become involved.

Opening Doors for Jobcentre Plus in Essex

Nigel Warren, Business Development Manager for Jobcentre Plus in Essex and his colleague visited Wilmott Dixon’s St Chad’s housing development site in Tildbury in Essex as part of Open Doors 2016. St Chad’s innovative housing development comprises of 128 two and three bedroomed homes for sale or rent in 2017. During Open Doors week, visitors could view a wide range of construction activities taking place including groundworks, brickwork and roofing.

During the site visit, Nigel had the opportunity to find out more about this interesting construction site in the local area as well as learning about the wide variety of jobs and skills found on site. They heard directly from the contractor, Willmott Dixon, about the challenges they face in terms of recruitment and skills shortages, particularly in bricklaying, which highlighted the importance of raising awareness of construction careers to Jobcentre Plus clients and young people.

Nigel Warren, Business Development Manager for Jobcentre Plus commented:

“It was a really useful visit and reinforced the need to try and get more people to consider the wide range of job opportunities in the construction sector.”

Following the visit Nigel and his colleague are exploring the possibility of a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) training programme operating in the Essex Jobcentre Plus area, and are looking forward to visiting more sites during Open Doors 2017.

Opening Doors to construction for Jobcentre Plus Staff

Jobcentre Plus (JCP) Employer Advisers, Managers, Work Coaches and JCP job seekers visited a wide variety of ‘live’ Open Doors construction sites from housing developments, highways projects and new school builds from the North Wales Coast to Essex to the West Coast of Scotland during Open Doors 2016.

The visits gave JCP staff and their clients an insight into the workings of a high profile construction projects and the vast range of construction professionals employed on site as well as the skills and qualifications employers are looking for.

Following the visits JCP staff have embarked upon a wide variety of worthwhile follow up activities including arranging follow up visits, work experience, work trials and employment opportunities for their clients with Build UK members and their supply chain. These opportunities are vital to support JCP clients into meaningful and sustainable employment and providing the construction industry with the pipeline of talent it requires to meet its future skills needs.

Lesley Trewhitt, Employer Advisor, Northallerton & Richmond Jobcentres, who visited the A1L2B, Carillion Morgan Sindall, Leeming to Barton highways project commented on how this visit has supported her work with JCP clients:

“I’ve been able to give more information when selling the work experience opportunities as I now have information on the background of the project and the way in which each section is planned.”

Anne Pavey, Senior Business Sector Manager, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) added:

“Open Doors site visits are an excellent way of Jobcentre Plus staff gaining access to construction projects, large contractors and their supply chain. JCP staff and our job seekers have greatly benefited from the follow up activities, experiences and relationships developed during Open Doors 2016 and we look forward to future partnership working with Build UK and CITB on Open Doors 2017”