Nottingham College’s flagship City Hub campus development, being built by Wates Construction, is now over 40 weeks in, more than a third of the way to reaching completion in September 2020.
The City Hub is an integral part of Nottingham’s Southside regeneration programme, with £2bn of redevelopment programmes and opportunities in a half square mile area. These redevelopments include Nottingham Castle, intu Broadmarsh, Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station and future developments such as the College’s Maid Marian Way campus, which could become residential accommodation, Unity Square and the 40 acre Island Site which looks to provide new homes, office space and a proposed five-star hotel.
With two cranes now towering above the site and with much of the building’s steel frame in place, the College’s scheme will be the first of the projects within the Southside regeneration programme to complete.
In around 80 weeks’ time, 2,500 college students will pour through the doors of the new City Hub campus – the icing on the cake for the £58m project that got underway following the merger of Central and New College Nottingham to create Nottingham College just two years ago.
September 2020 won’t be the first time students step onto the site. In partnership with Wates Construction, more than 150 students have observed the project’s build progress up close in the past five months, spending time with engineers and operatives on site and learning how a project of this scale comes together.
100 students from across the College’s Construction faculty and its specialist Architecture and 3D design course have toured the site at different stages of construction. Students studying the various construction trades have been given a unique insight into a future career path and have received practical training from Wates.
From this summer, College students will also be offered work experience opportunities on the site to further develop their skills and make vital industry contacts. In July, the College is looking to place around 30 brickwork students on work experience and further on into the year, a similar number in plumbing and heating, electrics, plastering, painting and decorating and carpentry and joinery opportunities will be offered.
Wates, which is part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, has taken a proactive approach to engaging college students with the project. Members of the Wates team have taken on mentor-like roles, helping students to understand the various routes into industry and the skills and expertise required.
Charles Benjamin is a Level 3 Construction student at the College. Following his visit to the site he’s secured a work experience placement with Wates’ quantity surveying team. Charles has applied to Nottingham Trent University to study Quantity Surveying this September.
Charles said: “I’ve always known what I’ve wanted to do but it’s taken me some time for everything to come together and for me to get the right qualifications and skills to move me closer to my career. Having the opportunity to see a project of this scale up close, and meet the people who live and breathe it every day, was quite something. Making contacts and hearing from people about how they got to where they are is really encouraging and makes me more determined to work hard and aim high.”
The Chartered Institute of Building reports that 157,000 new recruits are needed by the industry by 2021 in order to keep up with construction demand. If we look at Nottingham city centre alone, there are around 30 developments in the pipeline or already started so the construction sector is booming locally – great news for those about to launch their careers after college.
John van de Laarschot, Chief Executive of Nottingham College, said:
“It was absolutely paramount that we work with our construction partner to maximise opportunities for our students to engage with this project. There is no greater lesson and no better classroom in which to learn and practice skills that are so desperately needed locally and nationally. Our construction students enjoy fantastic facilities at our Basford Hall campus so to be able to offer them a live construction site, especially one of this scale, is a fantastic bonus.”
John Carlin, Regional Managing Director of Wates Construction, said:
“From the outset of our work on Nottingham City Hub, we’ve remained committed to supporting the College’s employability agenda. The construction industry has been faced with a significant skills deficit in recent years so it’s been extremely important for companies like Wates to promote the different industry pathways and range of careers available within this dynamic sector. By providing these bright students with the tools through which to enhance their prospects, we’re leaving a legacy that will last long after construction completes.”
The City Hub was procured via Major Works – UK, part of Scape’s National Construction framework. The framework has been designed to deliver significant levels of local economic engagement as well as extensive community initiatives.