Dudley College student is 100th to lay foundations for his career

Leading housing and care provider Sanctuary Group has joined forces with construction specialist Stepnell to provide hands-on work placements and curriculum activities for college students, including 17-year-old Callum Lovatt from Dudley College, at the Sanctuary Grove site in St John’s, Worcester.

The Group is currently working with Stepnell on a £22 million development, which is one of Sanctuary’s National Skills Academy for Construction sites. It will comprise a 60-bed care home, a 60-unit extra care scheme and a mix of retirement living apartments and bungalows, where residents will be able to access a variety of care and support as needed. The development also features a central hub providing a range of shared facilities for residents and the local community.

In addition to Dudley College, the students have come from schools and colleges across the West Midlands including Heart of Worcestershire College, Bromsgrove School, Tudor Grange Academy and The Chase Malvern. Some of the work placements also came from Worcester Job Centre Plus and Worcestershire County Council.

Callum Lovatt, the 100th work placement, is studying plumbing at the college. He said: “I am really enjoying my week on site at Sanctuary Grove. It’s been a good opportunity to get experience in the working world and for me to see what I might like to do in my future career. I’ve particularly enjoyed getting some more practical and hands-on experience as it’s not quite the same when you’re in a classroom.”

The students are given five days on site during their placement where they rotate work activities, including carpentry and plastering. On their final day they are introduced to a variety of curriculum activities ranging from health and safety to career talks.

Amanda Gonsalves, Sanctuary’s Group director - HR, commented: “As with all of our developments, we are pleased to be able to provide employment and training opportunities at Sanctuary Grove for local people. These work placements are a valuable way to help young people gain an insight into the world of work and hands-on experience which will prove invaluable when applying for future roles in the construction industry.”

Lee Rollason, curriculum manager for Construction and Mechanical Services at Dudley College, said: “Stepnell and Sanctuary’s proactive approach to working with the college has enabled students to gain invaluable work experience as part of their study programme. The work experience programme has taken the learners out of a simulated work environment and given them practical hands on experience bringing relevance to their theory studies.”

Karen Ryan, best practice manager at Stepnell, added: “These young people are the future of the construction industry and to be able to play a small part in preparing them for their future careers is crucial. It enables them to apply skills learnt in a controlled environment and is invaluable in helping them to achieve their goals.”