In a UK first, Gloucestershire College has bought a house in Gloucester as a renovation project for its construction and building services students, in order to further develop their skills and provide them with practical experience of working on-site.

The College bought the two bedroom mid terraced house, situated on Tredworth Road, outright for £71,500 at the start of this year.

Over 400 students studying electrical, plastering, brickwork, plumbing, painting and decorating, carpentry and bench joinery courses at the College’s Cheltenham, Gloucester and Forest of Dean campuses will have the opportunity to work on the house, with completion planned for summer 2016. In addition, HNC construction students have been involved in producing drawings and surveys, while students from other academic areas have been documenting progress and designing colour schemes.

The work to be carried out will include reinstating some of the original Victorian features and installing a modern kitchen and bathroom. This will involve stripping out, electrical work, plumbing, fitting new internal and external doors and windows, and renovating the garden and all other rooms, including plastering, painting and decorating. On site, experienced GC Project Manager, Rachael Capener will provide employability coaching and mentoring in her role as the ‘boss’ and ‘client’, while the College’s expert lecturers will provide practical support and supervision. No tools, materials or equipment will be left on site outside of the working hours.

A new roof is being provided by the College’s construction partner E G Carter, along with new flooring and tiling. Other local businesses have been generous in supporting the project too: Howdens Joinery is providing the kitchen; Buildbase the materials and rewards for students; Nicks Timber the woodwork and project support; and Johnstones Paints the paint and tools for decoration.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national regulator for workplace health and safety, has also been very supportive of the project, and will be overseeing the health and safety aspects throughout the renovation.

Once the house is completed to a professional standard, the College plans to sell the property and reinvest in another renovation property for students.

Principal Matthew Burgess said: “This is a really exciting student focused project which also bring some real value to the local community. We are committed to ensuring our students leave college skilled, employable and motivated, and are champions of the value of work experience. There is a local skills shortage in the construction industry and this house, in addition to our recently launched Construction Centres in Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean, will provide our students with a wide range of experiences and opportunities, including site work and working with trades on collaborative projects, which will ultimately give them the edge in future employment.

“We believe we’re the first college to buy a property as a student renovation project and I can’t wait to see what the student led teams achieve on site.”

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

Gloucestershire College first UK college to buy house for student renovation by Kate | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/