Adding value for built environment students in Manchester

Seven students from St Mary’s Catholic High School in Manchester recently joined Hub Framework Partner, ISG’s regional team.

The students are working towards a Level 3 Diploma in Professional Construction Practice (PCP), a course developed by ISG in partnership with awarding organisation WJEC. The students visited their MediaCityUK office and local projects to gain practical insight from specialists across the business, to support one of their core course modules; ‘value and the built environment’.

This followed a placement opportunity for St Mary’s student, Finlay, on site during the February half term, with travel and refreshment costs covered; an initiative replicated across four sites in London for students currently taking the course in the capital. An additional placement was also arranged for St Mary’s student, Oliver, with supply chain partner, AWE electrical engineers. 

The PCP course offers young people the chance to learn about this great industry, introducing the skills, technologies and ethos of the profession. Recognising a knowledge gap for students at Level 3 in contemporary construction practice, ISG and WJEC developed the applied diploma in 2018, which is worth up to 56 fully transferable UCAS points – the equivalent of an A-level. 

The course showcases the new and emerging technologies in contemporary construction practice. The PCP course content is ‘work ready’ and gives students a strong understanding of the end-to-end process in construction from design, planning and funding a scheme, through to collaborative construction techniques and sustainable ways of working in the community, introducing new technologies to ensure that the construction process can be leaner and more efficient at all levels.

As module three of the course is focused on ‘value and the built environment’, the students gained insight into the importance of a structured sustainability plan, featuring stakeholder and community engagement; protection of the environment; and project delivery including consideration of the soft-landings strategy, aftercare and post-occupancy evaluation. There were also opportunities for the students to put their learning into practice during their time in the office and out on site. 

Karen Vigar, ISG’s education engagement manager, said: “The industry needs innovative and creative skills, along with diversity and fresh thinking, to reflect the clients we work with, the communities we work in, and in turn helping people and places to thrive.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative for our industry. It’s not every day a construction specialist develops a new qualification, but we are passionate about tackling the skills shortage head on and delighted to see the course now getting the traction that we believe it deserves.” 

There are currently four schools delivering the course and one college which is also an ISG Learning Alliance partner. ISG continues to support tutors and learners in helping to bring content to life and has also been on hand to provide virtual support during the final few months of the course for the first cohort of students, during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

David Jones, acting lead teacher for technology at St Mary’s commented: “A huge thank you for all your efforts. The day was brilliant from start to finish. The information was really specific to the students’ learning outcomes and gave real context to what they are learning. I have been inundated with questions about the session which goes to show how much they took from the day.”

The Level 3 students have been given the opportunity to apply for ISG’s apprenticeship programme, and the business is fully committed to developing this into an industry-wide qualification. The aim is to support the long-term future of the industry and change the conversation about construction for the next generation. Find out more about the course here: www.isgplc.com/level3 

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