Thursday, March 23rd, 2017.

Young bricklayer James Tams honing his skills

The first wave of Excelsior College students to enrol on a new construction course are going from strength to strength as they exhibit the skills employers demand.

A booming construction sector buoyed by major new house building programmes and new commercial property investment means bricklaying, carpentry and joinery skills have never been in greater demand.

Students on the City and Guilds Construction course run in Excelsior Academy’s Laidlaw Construction Training Centre are more than half way through their first year of the two-year programme.

Under the guidance of Joe Temple – Excelsior Academy Subject Development Leader of Engineering and Construction – and his team, the students are making rapid progress towards their goals of industry employment.

Excelsior is also helping them gain CSCS health and safety accreditation to give them clearance to work on building sites.

“We have the expert support and tailor made facilities to help the students make rapid progress,” said Joe.

“The course involves brick work, block work, carpentry and joinery with the idea being to give them a flavour and insight into the industry.

“The students are going out on site visits to get first-hand experience of working life and staff will be running masterclasses later this year where time served tradespeople will come in and show them skills to focus on for their career development.”

Bricklayer James Tams, 18, is one of the students showing exceptional progress on the City and Guilds course.

“I’m building a slab wall using a string line to make sure the bricks are in a straight line with no curves – it’s got to be tight because if it isn’t it will be easy to move around,” said James.

“I’m looking at apprenticeships in bricklaying, looking around this area, which would be perfect.

“I’ve been interested in bricklaying for years and when I heard about this course I thought it was perfect.

“I’ve developed quite a few skills on this course. I like the challenge of bricklaying the most, learning new things which makes it interesting and challenging.”

The construction centre boasts a workshop with individual work bays for each student, precision machinery and tools for students to work with and an IT room with the latest PCs and touchscreen technology to underpin their course theory work.