Engineering students at Ron Dearing UTC gained vital health and safety knowledge thanks to the team behind construction of the school’s expansion.
The UTC is currently increasing student places from 600 to 800 to meet growing demand, redeveloping space in the existing school building, and renovating and repurposing the former Central Fire Station next door to the school into a satellite site.
Contractor Sewell Construction invited eight Year 12 students to a “Toolbox Talk” and shared their specialist knowledge on health and safety, showing the students how work on the fire station site is progressing and enabling them to visit the site offices.
Dave Major, Sewell Construction Project Manager led the tour alongside Sean Boynton, Safety, Environmental and Compliance (SEC) Manager and Sewell Quantity Surveyor Richard Hoe.
They spoke about the importance of wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on site, how waste is tracked when it leaves the site, first aid, site inductions and relevant paperwork.
They also explained how the construction team works with the local community and the measures Sewell Construction puts in place to look after its own workforce and supply chain, including mental health support.
In addition, Dave shared knowledge on erecting scaffolding and controlling dust on site and the students were encouraged to ask questions during the visit.
Dave said: “There’s nothing more important than our people going home safely and our procedures support our teams in achieving this.
“All of these checks and processes ensure we’re as safe as we can be. Safety comes first and everything you do has a risk assessment. It’s about preventing accidents and stopping things from becoming a problem.”
Sewell Construction is planning to hold a further Toolbox Talk focused on sustainability as the project progresses.
The team has recently achieved the business’ highest ever “Considerate Constructors” score of 44 out of 45 during a recent audit on site. The scheme is independently run and supports and guides positive change in the construction industry.
Construction teams are assessed on respecting the community, caring for the environment, and valuing the workforce.
Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The Toolbox Talk was a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience health and safety in the workplace, learning from industry specialists on site.
“As health and safety is the most important part of engineering and the construction industry, it’s vital that the talent of tomorrow has a sound understanding of how it is applied.
“Thank you to the Sewell Construction team and Sean for taking the time to share their knowledge with our students. It was a very valuable experience for all involved.”
Year 12 student Harry Wilson, 16, said: “I learnt a lot from the talk. I didn’t realise how much goes into the planning side of a project, including health and safety, before construction can start. It was really interesting, and I can see how important health and safety is.”
Fellow Year 12 student Skylar Dawson, also 16, said: “There is a lot to think about in health and safety. It’s so much more than I ever realised and very important. I enjoyed the tour and I’m interested to see how the fire station will look when it’s finished.”