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Stoke-on-Trent students to work on city’s new schools

21 Aug 12 Three students from St Thomas More Catholic College in Longton have secured valuable summer work experience with Wates Construction, the contractor delivering the school’s £6m extension.

The paid work placements form part of the college’s Career Academies scheme, designed to enhance the employability of local young people. To secure the work, the students undertook an application and interview process, giving them an insight into real life recruitment scenarios.

The students, all aged 17 years, recently completed their AS levels at the college, and are now set to join Wates on site for the duration of their six-week holiday period.

Jake Blackhurst, who lives in Lightwood, will join the site team at St Thomas More, with Conor Till from Longton working alongside Wates on the new £19m Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy in Blurton, and Tom Johnson from Weston Coyney working at the new £20m Discovery Academy in Bentilee.

The projects form part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s £250m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which will see 18 schools across the city benefit from new and improved educational facilities.

Andy Hands, Business Manager for Wates Construction in the Midlands, commented: “Our continuing delivery of these projects under Stoke’s BSF programme puts us in a fortunate position to ensure local young people are offered opportunities that will equip them with the skills and experience for their future careers. We are delighted to welcome the students of St Thomas More onto our sites as they contribute to the transformation of Stoke’s educational facilities.”

Student, Tom Johnson, added: “I hope to gain an insight into what a career in the construction industry entails. I have already learnt lots of skills including IT skills and various constructional drawings. I am enjoying the placement and it has been a very useful tool into seeing what a career in the construction industry involves.”

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Wates began work on the refurbishment of St Thomas More Catholic College in January 2012, which will see the facility expand from 9,500 sq m to 10,600 sq m of improved teaching spaces. The college will remain operational throughout the works, which are scheduled for completion in July 2013.

The project also includes the construction of a new dining hall, administration and office provision; a new library; an on-site chapel; and upgraded ICT systems. External works also comprise the creation of new access roads and new car parking facilities.

Also forming part of the city’s BSF programme, Wates is delivering the new Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA), which will accommodate 1,050 students and the new 11,000 sq m Discovery Academy. Both projects are scheduled for completion by summer 2013.

Councillor Ruth Rosenau, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transportation said: “BSF, in line with our Mandate for Change, is about delivering new education facilities that will benefit students, teachers and the local community of Stoke-on-Trent, it’s much more than just creating buildings, it’s inspiring the city’s future generations.

“Our young people deserve the very best and the BSF project is providing that. It’s about increasing aspirations and achievement, creating 21st century education facilities across the city. We welcome these apprenticeships and the skills and experience on offer to these young people.”

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