The work-related learning programme for Diploma students which Bruce developed is also being considered as a Demonstration Project by the national Homes and Communities Agency.
Bruce replaced traditional work experience for Diploma students with a week-long tailored programme challenging them to design a housing development from scratch. “I wanted to deliver the work experience of a diploma efficiently and effectively,” he explains. “Normally, employers just have students in for work shadowing and they don’t necessarily learn very much or get a real taste of what working in the industry might be like.” His alternative programme involves students spending a week with Lovell. In the pilot scheme for south Staffordshire schools, students were tasked to design a housing development from a blank site plan, based on an actual Lovell development nearby.
Students had to devise the development layout, design a house, choose the materials and cost the job. The teenagers visited the actual development which Lovell built and went on site at the company’s major regeneration development at Camp Hill, Nuneaton. They also had the chance to learn from people working in the industry, including a planning officer and from Lovell, managing director Stewart Davenport, national sales manager Joan Cartwright, a management trainee, a construction apprentice and regional training assistant Karen Vanstone.
“It was an intense week but very enjoyable and a far more effective way of engaging with the Diploma students than traditional work shadowing,” explains Bruce. “We have demonstrated that this approach works and will continue it in our ongoing delivery of the work experience which is an essential part of the Diploma curriculum.”
Tim Legge, chair of the Staffordshire Partnership Construction and Built Environment Diploma development team, says: “Our Construction students had by far the most enjoyable and productive part of the Diploma course so far. They were bowled over by the reception they received, highly motivated by the tasks they were set and learned an incredible amount both about themselves and their aspirations and also the real world of construction.”