By Ian Mean
Business West Gloucestershire director & vice chair GFirstLEP
Construction is very much on the increase despite the general downturn in the economy.
So, I was delighted to see one of Gloucestershire’s Further Education colleges making great strides to train young apprentices for the construction trade and associated skills.
At the start of Apprenticeship Week, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College(SGS) officially launched its own construction campus at Filton, Bristol.
SGS Horizon is impressive. It has been built with employers in mind-specially designed to help their construction apprentices learn the skills they need as they progress into the world of work.
The students I saw were impressive too.
Cameron Paul said he would eventually like to have his own bricklaying and stone masonry firm.
And plasterer Kieran Harper,24, told me: ”I will be completely honest with you-I have been in different fields of work and I used to be an estate agent. It was my Dad who told me to get into plastering.”
Also impressive is the management team at SGS driving the campus on the magnificent Horizon business park.
Sarah Stephens-Lewis is Assistant Principal for Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement.
“I didn’t go to university”, she says, ”And I strongly believe that for a lot of young people a different pathway to the world of work is very important.
“To work and learn at the same time like these construction apprentices is absolutely amazing.
“SGS Horizon is a direct response to the needs of the construction sector in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, including the growing demand for workers to fill skills shortages, the buoyant housing market and the interest in renewable energies and sustainable development”.
Something like 50 per cent of the college’s full time learners progress into apprenticeships.
That is one of the highest percentages in the country and SGS are rightly proud of that.
For me, the SGS Horizon launch is very important for the growing construction economy in our county.
I also learned the difference between joinery and carpentry!
To watch a Horizon campus video,go to:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8NpVEq5LEI&feature=youtu.be