Building a brighter future for Preston College construction learners

A major refurbishment of Preston College’s Construction Department is set to get underway - heralding the start of an exciting new chapter for its staff and learners.

Leading architecture, design and masterplanning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) is leading the project which will support the introduction of new Professional Construction T-Level courses.

Preston College is one of almost 50 Further Education establishments sharing a £48.5m pot from the Department for Education to fund refurbishments in advance of the new courses.

FWP’s design work includes remodelling the building, with the creation of a bright, modern exterior and a new mezzanine level for the delivery of the T-Level courses.

T-Levels are an alternative to A-Levels, apprenticeships and other 16-to-19 courses. Equivalent to three A-Levels, a T-Level course focuses on vocational skills.

The revamp of the construction department building on its Fulwood campus will ensure learners have access to the latest technology and equipment, combined with high-specification industry-standard facilities.

Neil Ainsworth, partner at FWP, which has its headquarters in Preston, said: “Our brief has been to create a learning environment that will give learners the best facilities, technology and equipment for the delivery of the new curriculum.

“To that end we’ve worked very closely with the college’s construction department staff.

“Preston College has built up a great reputation for high-quality technical learning in the construction sector, creating a pipeline of talented, professionally qualified people that businesses across the region can tap into.

“The new facilities we are delivering will help the college continue on that mission, by giving staff and students the very best environment for success as they embark on the new T-Levels.”

From September, Preston College will be offering the T-Level in Professional Construction; Construction Surveying and Design.

Mark Taylor, Preston College’s head of school for construction and the built environment, said: “This is a significant advancement for our construction department and one we are all very excited to be a part of.

“The introduction of T-Levels this year brings with it many opportunities for the young people of our region, and with this landmark development, we are able to offer our learners the very best in industry standard facilities and equipment.

“Preston College will continue to re-invest and innovate in curriculum delivery, and over the next two academic years, we will introduce T-Levels in Building Services Engineering and On-Site Construction.”

The building work is being carried out by Longridge-based construction company Carefoot.

Managing director Colin Carefoot said: “Carefoot is delighted to be working with Preston College to build the new T-Level facility within the construction school.

“Carefoot has been supporting colleges in the development of the new Construction T-Levels through the pilot schemes over the last two years. To be working with Preston College to directly address the construction skills shortage in Lancashire is a great opportunity.

“Directly employed apprentices have already been selected from Preston College by Carefoot, and our local supply chain is helping to deliver our training pledge to the college with three bricklaying apprentices studying at the college already working on the project.

“Throughout the delivery of this construction project all students will benefit from trade work placements and mentoring, Carefoot will also be sponsoring the college’s first construction scholarship. It will provide student support over two years, not just in financial terms but through mentoring and work experience through other Carefoot projects.”

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.