Exclusive interview with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College
As a finalist in the London Build Excellence Award, Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College explained how they hope to bridge the skills gap in the construction industry through their West London Construction Academy.
Recently, there has been increasing research and concern surrounding a skills deficit in the construction and engineering field. This presents an exciting opportunity to cultivate a skilled and specialist workforce, which West London College (WLC) has facilitated by its purpose-built and industry-focused pop-up site, West London Construction Academy.
The new site has been built to respond to current and future issues within the construction and transportation industry and to be dynamic and changeable to adapt to skills gaps and needs as they arise, providing meaningful education and employment opportunities to people living in Southall through effective, pioneering and innovative teaching in a build for purpose learning environment. Working in partnership with Berkeley Homes we have shaped the curriculum offer to directly meet the needs of the industry and provide an excellent employer and industry link for our learners, with a provision tailored for school leavers, 16-18 year olds and adults in a range of full-time and short part-time courses and levels from entry up to higher education to ensure there are opportunities available for all students.
West London Construction Academy is a live pop-up site and real-working environment located at the centre of Southall Waterside Building Development. This dedicated and unique space gives learners the opportunity to work on a live construction site and provides an interactive and practical learning environment designed to develop the skills and get the experience needed to gain employment opportunities within the industry.
What innovative features does the Academy present?
The site utilises modern technology, including provision for the use of virtual reality and video technology, 3D scanners and other methods to plan and rehearse construction activities. There is also a dedicated laboratory for prototyping, testing, discussing and disseminating advances in construction technology, as well as a space for delivering new forms of Apprenticeships. We also have a ‘makers yard’ where skills can be put to the test in an outdoor learning environment, testing construction practices through large-scale prototypes. This demonstrates we are ahead of the curve with our live site already in place, set to receive learners for the academic year 2018/19 and encapsulates our commitment to the industry as we embark on creating a skilled workforce to meet the increasing demands from employers.
Why did you enter the award?
We entered the London Build Excellence Awards to share the journey our learners will be taking on to meet the construction industry needs and skills gaps. By attending Awards, we can communicate our mission to improve lives through education, training, skills and development, fostering social and economic success and strengthen our current employer relationships and forge new ones with employers that would either use the site or recruit students who have completed their courses at West London Construction Academy.
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