We are proud to be sponsoring Aylesbury based Buckinghamshire University Technical College (UTC) which focuses on construction and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) studies for 14-19 year olds and opened its doors to the first intake of students in September 2013. UTCs are a new concept in education, responding to growing demands from the industry for well-educated, high calibre technicians. They combine hand and mind to integrate national curriculum requirements with technical and practical elements.
As part of our partnership with the UTC, we’ve been involved in the development of the college right from the beginning; helping the college to develop its construction course curriculum, including advising the UTC on the type of qualifications that would be useful for us as a major local employer; underpinned by a planned year-long program with the UTC to cover all aspects of the Taylor Wimpey business to fit with the qualification that the students are working towards.
We have also worked with the UTC teaching team to structure our employer projects so they focus on challenges that students could face in the actual working environment. For example, setting up a smaller version of a building site adjacent to one of our larger housing schemes in Aylesbury, so students can get experience as a real construction worker. Our experienced regional teams guide the students through the whole process, from the health and safety induction and trades working on site, to surveying, site management and office based roles, demonstrating a whole spectrum of job opportunities available in the sector.
We have also been pleased to help in other areas such as sponsoring a mature female student who did not qualify for government funding to complete the course. This enabled her to study at Level 3 and to progress onto University. We have also supplied all of the construction students with branded safety wear to enable them to work safely on site and be visible. In addition we supplied a new minibus to help with logistics in getting construction students to and from our sites when completing their extended work experience projects and for other activities such as sports and school trips.
One of the key aspects of our partnership with Bucks UTC is helping students put theory into practice through gaining practical knowledge in the working environment. To support that, we have taken on two construction course students on work experience placements. Originally we expected the first batch of students to be ready for their proper work placements at the end of the 2014-15 academic year; however the two students made such great progress that together with the college it was decided that it’s the right time for them to get into the business and finish their Level 3 qualification whilst working with us.
The placements will see the students in paid employment for three days a week and will be structured so that site experience is combined with some time based in the office to allow students to understand progress reports, build programs, contractor vetting, prestart and weekly report meetings. The students will also be supported by an experienced mentor who will act as a point of reference to enhance their experience. On successful completion of their work experience, the students will be given an opportunity to join our Site Management Apprenticeship Scheme at the end of Year 13, subject to achieving the necessary academic requirements and demonstrating strong work ethics.
Other similar opportunities for the most ambitious college students are currently being considered and, if successful, this could prove to be a great model of working in partnership with the UTC to identify and recruit the next generation of managers.
Beverley Flanagan, Principal of Buckinghamshire UTC, said: “We’re delighted with the fantastic support that we’ve received from Taylor Wimpey. It’s great to be able to work so closely with Taylor Wimpey and we hope we continue to enjoy a fruitful partnership long into the future”.
The UTC is based near our New Berry Vale development in Aylesbury. For more information about Bucks UTC visit the college website