In a remarkable initiative that combines education, hands-on experience, and community development, students from Newark College's Electrical Installation Study Programmes and Apprenticeships are shaping the future of Newark's town centre.
The project led by Stepnell, with Newark and Sherwood District Council, allows the students to observe the project through the different stages of transforming the M&S foodhall on Stodman Street into a vibrant hub of residential homes and retail units. Beyond their initial site visit this week, the students will revisit the site for the demolition phase and continue to monitor the project until its successful completion.
Under the expert guidance of professionals, students will have the unique opportunity to witness and contribute to the entire project life cycle. This enriching work experience with a local employer equips students with sector-specific knowledge for future employment within the industry.
Penny Taylor, MBE, Head of Newark Campuses, said: “We are delighted for our students to be involved in such a project; it reinforces our commitment to providing students with enriching experiences making them work-ready.
“The collaboration between educational institutions and local government and employers underscores the importance of nurturing the next generation of industry experts. As a college, we can’t replicate these experiences in the classroom - local employers enhance student experience, allowing them to visualise theory on a real project whilst actively investing in the betterment of the community.”
Councillor Matthew Spoors, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Economic Development at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This was a great opportunity where we could provide local students with a unique experience to support them in their learning by visiting a major construction project.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to work with partners and to find ways we can support them in the work that we do. The plan for the former M&S building will help transform the empty building into a thriving area where living, working and shopping come together.
“We’re excited to get this project underway, and our Officers enjoyed informing students on the challenges and work that goes into renovating such a unique site.”
During this week's site tour, Stepnell provided students with valuable insights into the various stages of the project, including the complexities of demolishing a site in a highly pedestrianised town centre, emphasising the need for a controlled process over a 20-week period. Students also gained an understanding of the diverse professionals involved in such a large-scale project, including the coordination with the National Grid to ensure the absence of live cables during the demolition phase and the involvement of archaeologists to assess the need for an archaeological dig to preserve any artifacts – teaching students the importance of liaising with the different trades to ensure safety and efficiency throughout the project.
Christian White, Senior Pre-Construction Manager, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with the electrical installation students from Newark College for their first site visit to this multifaceted and significant development in the town centre. This project showcases the variety and complexity of works that electrical installers may expect to undertake with similar high street projects.
“We’re looking forward to continuing to engage with the students as the works progress. This education initiative adds to our social value plans during the project, including carbon reduction initiatives, employability programmes and targeted regional spending. These are all integral to generating the added value that we pride ourselves on delivering as a complete construction partner.”
Jake Wood, Level 3 Electrical Installations Apprentice at Newark College, said: “We are doing design at the moment in college which I’m really enjoying. Being on site, we got to see design plans for the new building. It’s good to understand the layout from the start and end of the project.”
Following their visit students had an engaging and innovative session with Stepnell on the importance of employer encounters. Students learned how they can enhance their CVs, key interview skills and ideal attributes of candidates. Reinforcing our employer-led commitment as a college to deliver an enriching curriculum.
For more information on our Newark College Electrical Installations provision, please head to: https://shorturl.at/gtvB7