Leeds students achieve a higher level

Two apprentices from Leeds College of Building have been selected as the best in the country at an awards ceremony held in London to recognise excellence in a newly launched Higher Level Apprenticeship in Construction and the Built Environment Sustainability.

Adam Bradley who is from Leeds and works for AECOM and Neil White who is from Malton and works for May Gurney Rail were chosen as the winners by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Runners up Luke Chambers and Kane Foster were also recognised for their engineering talents. Both are carrying out their apprenticeship at Leicester College and work for construction firm Wilmott Dixon.

The Apprentices were judged by Andrew Stanley of the ICE, Tom Gibney of Construction Skills (CITB) and Catherine Elliott from SummitSkills. All four had to compete in a Dragons-Den style pitch and present research and ideas on an innovative sustainable energy concept. The two day competition also included a visit to The Shard and the winners were awarded £1,500 and a trophy with the runners up each receiving an iPad.

Exciting concept

Neil says: “We researched piezoelectric energy harvesting and presented to the judges on its ability to turn the mechanical strain of road traffic or human footfall into electricity. The technology already exists and some countries are testing its viability with the Italian Government just announcing that it has earmarked a section of its motorway for tests. As with any sustainable energy there are pros and cons but it is an exciting concept and one that we could see in the UK soon.””

Chair of the judges Andrew Stanley says: “There were five groups in the final and all were extremely impressive. The quality of work, research and presentations met an even higher level than the qualifications they are currently studying for requires, which is a testament to the individuals, the companies they work for and the colleges they study at. The winners were chosen because of the real life applications of their topics which were firmly embedded in practice and the winning candidates delivered a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking presentation.””

Work based training

The Higher Level Apprenticeship in Construction and the Built Environment Sustainability provides apprentices with university level work based training. The course has been specifically designed for A level students with 80 or more UCAS points, Level 3 Advanced Apprentices, those with BTECs, a relevant HNC or people already working in the industry.

Developed in conjunction with employers, colleges, universities and all of the leading sector skills councils, it is suitable for people wanting to pursue a career in a wide range of disciplines including architecture, building services, civil engineering, construction management, maintenance, planning and surveying.

To date numerous construction firms, house builders, architects, NHS Trusts, local councils and transport companies have signed apprentices up to the course which is helping to shape the future of the construction industry.

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