Derby's budding Brunel youths aim for the top at Market Hall event - Wates

Wates Construction, Derby City Council, Scape Group and Construction Youth Trust have joined forces for a three day event designed to inspire the next generation of Derby engineers and construction professionals.

The Budding Brunels event involved 15 local Year 12 students attending a three day course at Derby’s Market Hall, at which Wates Construction is currently delivering phase one of a three-year transformation project, which incorporates significant improvements to the building’s glazed panelling, copper roof and stonework.

During the first day of the course, the students had a tour of the site to gain an understanding of what a large scale construction and engineering project entails. A networking event was also held, to allow the attendees to get to know the wide variety of industry professionals that all have a vital role to play on civic programmes such as the transformation of the Market Hall.

The second day saw the students put their skills to the test with a tower building challenge. Later in the day, the participants also undertook a workshop which involved role-playing the various different stakeholders on a construction project – from local residents to senior councillors – in order to consider how large scale works such as these can impact on a wide variety of local people.

In order to provide the students with essential skills for the job market, mock interviews were held on the final day in which participants were given a flavour of what it is like to face a recruitment panel. The programme culminated with the students providing presentations on what they had learnt during the activity to a panel of industry figures.

The event was staffed by representatives of Wates, Derby City Council, Scape and HSP Consulting, and formed part of the national Building Brunels campaign, an Open College Network accredited schools engagement programme aimed at informing young people about higher education and career options within the construction industry.

John Carlin, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction Midlands, said:

“The skill, aptitude and enthusiasm shown by the local students who took part in Building Brunels has left me in no doubt that the future of construction and engineering is in safe hands. I hope our participants were inspired by their surroundings of Derby’s Market Hall, which was designed by Melbourne engineer Rowland Mason Ordish in the 1860s.
We look forward to further collaboration with the local community during our work transforming the Market Hall on behalf of Derby City Council, ensuring that the project provides an insight for local people into the many opportunities that the construction industry offers.”

Victoria Brambini, Managing Director of Scape Procure, commented:

“Attracting talented young people into the construction industry is one of the biggest challenges the industry is currently facing. Not enough young people see construction as a viable or attractive career option, and are not aware of how varied construction roles can be. The Budding Brunels initiative is an excellent example of how industry professionals can challenge misconceptions and address the imbalance. This is why Scape supports the programme’s six school engagement projects across the UK.

Providing face-to-face guidance and real-life experience is the best way to engage a generation of future workers, and inspire them to take the next step in accessing the right training and qualifications. It is great to see Wates playing such a crucial role.”

Originally built in 1864 and located in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, the Market Hall is one of the city’s most culturally important buildings. Today, it plays host to a range of independent traders, with its wide variety of stalls encompassing niche food and drink offerings as well as local fashion retailers.

The Market Hall is located within Derby’s City Centre Conservation Area, which also contains Derby Cathedral, the Silk Mill and the Guildhall Theatre.


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