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West Suffolk College event in Bury St Edmunds opens children’s eyes to careers in construction





A college has helped to build aspirations in young people for careers in construction when they hosted a one-day careers festival.

The West Suffolk College event, in Bury St Edmunds, saw over 240 nine to 11 year olds from six Suffolk schools take part in a variety of activities at the Built Environment campus in Anglian Lane.

It was organised by Victoria Fiebelkorn, group head of the Skills Escalator for Eastern Education Group, which includes the college, as part of her ongoing mission to give primary school students the chance to experience the world of work.

Neve Duckworth, a student from West Suffolk College, with Victoria Fiebelkorn at this careers event for primary schools in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Eastern Education Group
Neve Duckworth, a student from West Suffolk College, with Victoria Fiebelkorn at this careers event for primary schools in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Eastern Education Group
Students from Barrow Primary try out plumbing at West Suffolk College. Picture: Eastern Education Group
Students from Barrow Primary try out plumbing at West Suffolk College. Picture: Eastern Education Group

She said: “The construction sector needs a future generation – there is a shortage of people coming through, so we need to do something now.

“We are keen to highlight the vast range and importance of careers in construction, for all genders. Some people who work in construction earn more money than doctors – so we were keen to celebrate facts like this.

“The reputation of the skills escalator days (careers events for primary schools) is getting stronger, and I think this model of giving primary schools hands-on experiences in different sectors is a project that could be rolled out nationally.

Tom Hale from Barrow Primary School at the skills escalator day at the built environment campus. Picture: Eastern Education Group
Tom Hale from Barrow Primary School at the skills escalator day at the built environment campus. Picture: Eastern Education Group
West Suffolk College student Ronnie Potter with students from Barrow Primary during a plumbing task. Picture: Eastern Education Group
West Suffolk College student Ronnie Potter with students from Barrow Primary during a plumbing task. Picture: Eastern Education Group

“Thanks to all staff and students for organising sessions and to all the schools for participating.”

Tom Hale, a Year 5 teacher from Barrow Primary School, said: “It’s been construction focussed and they [the students] loved it.

“Getting them out to schools and colleges to see what the future holds is a big one for them. It’s opened their eyes to other things. I’d highly recommend these days to other schools. Every one of my students engaged with the day from the word go.”

Willow, nine, also from Barrow Primary School, said: “We tried out some building jobs to see if we want to do it when we are growing up. Today has been interesting and fun.”

Ronnie Potter, 17, from Stowmarket, is groundworks level two student at West Suffolk College who took part in this event.

Ronnie said: “We showed the students basic drainage techniques, and they did very well – they outsmarted me at times.”

Best mates Kitty and Willow from Barrow at the Built Environment construction skills event. Picture: Eastern Education Group
Best mates Kitty and Willow from Barrow at the Built Environment construction skills event. Picture: Eastern Education Group
David Warren at the West Suffolk College construction skills escalator day. Picture: Eastern Education Group
David Warren at the West Suffolk College construction skills escalator day. Picture: Eastern Education Group

Neve Duckworth, 17, from Thetford, who is on a bricklaying course at the college and took part in the event, said: “Being here today hopefully inspires more girls to think about careers in construction.”

David Warren, head of building services, engineering and construction multi trades at the college, said: “The message I tried to get across is that what you learn as a trade can never be taken away and the skills you get can take your career around the world.”

For more details see here.

The next skills escalator day event will be taking place in Sudbury on June 7.