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Real-life project experience for construction students in Oxfordshire

PUBLISHED: 14:42 31 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:42 31 May 2016

Begbroke Science Park

Begbroke Science Park


Oxford-based construction company Beard is currently underway with a £5 million project for a new Innovation Accelerator Building at Begbroke Science Park in Begbroke, Oxfordshire.

As result construction students from Reading College have gained hands-on experience from a live building project sponsored and mentored by Beard. The students benefitted from participation in the 12-week project as part of their Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment.

Separated into groups, the students were tasked with creating a pre-construction tender package for the new Innovation Accelerator Building at Begbroke Science Park. The three-month assignment requires the students to estimate building materials and quantities, price the construction work and then create a construction build programme, a method statement and a health and safety plan. The aspiring young constructors spend one day a week in college and the remaining four days working in a range of roles for different contractors.

The students’ tender packages were then judged by their Beard mentors, project manager Tom Harbottle and estimators Ed Nolan and Luke Bennett who are all part of Beard’s project team delivering the Innovation Accelerator scheme. The winning group will receive a prize from Beard at the end of the project. “The aim of these learning initiatives is to give young people, hands-on experience which not only helps them with their construction studies, but improves their employment prospects when they graduate,” says Tom Harbottle, Beard project manager for the Accelerator Building scheme. “Modelling the assignment on an actual scheme that’s under construction has been a great way for the students to learn how these projects are planned, priced and built in real life.”

This Beard project forms part of series of Project Based Learning activities, which will run across the three campuses in association with Beard and other industry partners in the county. “Our learning programmes aim to equip students with the technical and soft skills required for success in their future careers,” says Paul Newman, Technology Group executive director and head of Reading Campus. “Gaining access to a live project such as this, and working alongside professionals from Beard, is invaluable. The project is stretching and challenging the students’ skills while enabling them to understand how knowledge developed on the course translates into a real world context. We are extremely grateful to Beard for the time and resources being made available to our students.”

Beard is an award-winning construction company which operates across the South of England. With offices in Oxford, Swindon, Bristol and Guildford, the company undertakes design and build, new build, restoration and refurbishment on a range of projects, including complex projects, up to £12 million for public and private sector organisations. Established in 1892, the family-owned company has significant expertise in building for the healthcare, arts and culture, commerce and industry, education, ecclesiastical, elderly care, sports and leisure and defence sectors.



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