Image credit: @CRTWestMidlands Canal & River Trust West Midlands
South & City College construction students from multiple trade areas will be gaining valuable work experience helping to restore Birmingham’s iconic Grade II* listed Roundhouse, due to reopen next spring.
Built in 1874, the Roundhouse was originally used to stable 50 horses that pulled narrowboats along the canal system.
The building is being brought back to life by a partnership between the Canal & River Trust and National Trust, made possible through a £2.5m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and funding of £196,000 from Historic England.
Linda Watson, Placement Officer for construction trades for the college explained, “Over the period of this project, we will have had a total of thirteen Level 2 to Level 5 HND construction students gain valuable work experience. Students from carpentry, bricklaying, electrical, civil engineering, construction management and building services, will all get up to several weeks experience. This is a unique opportunity for our students to learn heritage construction skills, which might otherwise be lost to history. Our thanks go to Kier and Greenford Construction, who are hosting the work placements”
Elizabeth Thompson, West Midlands Heritage Adviser for the Canal & River Trust added, “We wanted to offer an opportunity to South & City students to use historic materials and work with historic fabrics. The project is really exciting and so far the students that have taken part have really enjoyed the experience.”
Students have not only benefited from work experience, but 10 of the students have been funded to complete the Level 1 Health & Safety award, a prerequisite for getting their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card, which allows them to work on construction sites, together with receiving bursary money from the National Federation of Builders (NFB), to help fund travel, subsistence and any extra tools that are needed.
Jordan Edgar, a Level 3 Electrical Installation student, lives just five miles away from the Roundhouse, and has been a recipient of NFB bursary in the past said, “I think what the NFB do is great, because it really helps people that come on work experience afford to get there. I’ve spent the money on travel, food and extra tools.”
Having finished his bricklaying course in August and completing his Roundhouse work experience earlier in the year, David Stych has now been taken on full-time by the civil engineering firm in charge of the project, Greenford. “If I hadn’t got the work experience, I wouldn’t have got this job.” David said.
The Roundhouse will be an exciting space for the local community, offering a visitor centre, exhibition space, office space and a café.
For more information about the range of construction courses available to study at South & City College, visit: https://www.sccb.ac.uk/courses/construction