Twenty-five learners from Coleg y Cymoedd have capitalised on an opportunity to discover how developers are creating a more sustainable Wales.
The learners, who are currently studying towards a Foundation Degree in Sustainable Construction and Surveying at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus, had the opportunity to see how a former industrial site can be regenerated into a new community and how solar farms are generating renewable energy for thousands of Welsh households.
The learners visited St. Modwen’s Glan Llyn housing development, located on the former Llanwern Steelworks site, and the Oak Grove solar farm outside Caldicott. These were guided by two former graduates of the course, Lee Tillott from Littlewood Renewable, and Sean Barlow from St. Modwen Homes.
Like Lee and Sean before them, most of the learners are mature students currently working in the construction industry. Their course at Coleg y Cymoedd is designed to enable learners to upskill and advance their careers by transitioning into more senior roles and new sectors within construction such as quantity surveying, and project management.
Robert Kilvington-Thomas is currently employed as a dry liner and plans to pursue a new career as a Quantity Surveyor. Following his foundation degree, Rob hopes to complete a BSc (hons) top-up in Quantity Surveying at the University of South Wales.
Following the site visits Rob, said: “Many of us on the course have experience working in specific construction disciplines and trades, but the course opens up new opportunities for us to progress into new careers. When you’re working in an industry it’s difficult to gain experience outside of your discipline.
The course allows us to learn about developments in modern construction and the importance of sustainable practice, but these site visits have allowed us to see what we’re learning in class put into practice. Being able to see it for yourself first-hand and speaking with those who have previously studied on our course themselves is very beneficial.”
Following completion of their foundation degree, learners may choose to continue their studies at university, or progress into new roles with their existing employers. The course is delivered by Coleg y Cymoedd in partnership with the University of South Wales, with all tutors having extensive experience working within the construction sector.
Commenting on the construction site visits course leader Karen Le Feuvre explained: “The site visits allow learners to contextualise their classroom learning. The construction industry is constantly advancing and implementing new practices and innovations. Sustainable practice represents a key pillar of government policy and therefore has a significant economic impact on industry. It’s always positive for learners to meet former graduates as it allows them to gain a better understanding of the real-world career paths that are open to them.”