1st June 2016
South Devon College students have just completed a collaborative building project on Lower Sharpham Farm. In just 6 months, the students have successfully built an office building from the foundations to the finishing touches. The project was working in partnership with Ambios and the Robert Owens Community and was sponsored by Inter-Line Building Supplies.
Ambios is a not-for-profit organisation running UK and European training projects that help people achieve their goals for nature, science, education and employment. The main initiative for office building will be to provide recreational activities linked with nature and conservation, and for individuals from the Robert Owens Community to experience life working on a farm. As well as providing a great real-life project for the students, the new office will serve as a well-needed home and hub for all the exciting activities at Lower Sharpham Farm. Jack Skuse Ambios Director said, “The refurbishment to our office block has been nothing short of remarkable. This improved facility provides us with an improved work environment and training space for the people we work with. This will provide us with a platform to help us grow the farm by increasing its reach and hopefully benefitting the people we work with in new and exciting ways. The hard work and dedication of the tutors and crucially the students in bringing this work in on time and on budget is a huge testament to the College. It is tremendous and we are delighted.”
Bricklaying students kick-started the project who layed the foundations of the building ready for the Level 1 Diploma Carpentry & Joinery students who constructed the timber frame, completed the cladding and fitted the plasterboard ready for the Level 1 and 2 Plastering students to skim the surface. The finishing touches were completed by Level 2 and 3 Painting and Decorating students and the Level 2 Apprentices, who had the responsibility of fitting the fire doors and windows. Students on the Courses 2 Careers programme also tested their construction skills; they built shelves and a storage area for the office. The project was an invaluable opportunity for the trainee tradespeople to gain experience on a building site and enhance their professional portfolio. Each trade used their skill set to complement the other in order to finish the project in an efficient and masterful manner. Dean Bowden, Senior Section Head- Construction and Building Services said, “All our full time students have work experience as part of their courses at the College and community projects like this really speed up the development of the students’ construction skills, as well as providing a fun way to learn.”
Inter-Line supplied the building materials and personal protective equipment for the project. Director Stan Moreing offered an inspirational talk to the students and reminded them that with hard work and perseverance they too could build up a successful business. Each student also received a tape measure and a specialised carpenter’s pencil, generously provided by Inter-Line.
William Lana, Chair of Trustees for Sharpham conducted the opening ceremony and said, “I have a huge amount of respect for the people from South Devon College who, with all of their combined efforts, have put this job together in 6 months. What they’ve done here isn’t just gaining some skills; they’ve also left Ambios, the Robert Owens Community and the Sharpham Project with a huge legacy. They’ve done something really positive.”
The new office building now accompanies another building completed by South Devon College students on the Lower Sharpham farm site. ‘The Linney’ was constructed 3 years ago to serve as a canteen and eating area. There are also future plans in place for further developments.
Places are still available on full time sixth form Construction courses staring in September at the Paignton and Newton Abbot campuses, apply now.