Student builders preview new City Campus

The builders of the future have been given an insight into work on a major development after visiting Sunderland College’s flagship City Campus.

Trainee bricklayers and electricians from the college’s construction department were given a preview by major contractor BAM of the new £29 million campus which is due to open in September 2016.

The students got a taster of what it is like to work on a building site and to witness first-hand how the skills they learn on their courses can lead to careers in the construction industry.

Spanning 135,000 square feet, the campus is located in Sunderland city centre next to Park Lane Interchange and will be home to 2,000 students and 120 staff.

Work began on the site in January, and the majority of the structure, made up of four levels, is now in situ.

Colin Heath, electrical installation lecturer, said:

“The students really enjoyed their visit to City Campus. They were fascinated to see the work that has already gone into the development, particularly in their trade area, and the visit has brought the campus to life for them.”

All of the college’s construction courses will transfer to City Campus from Hylton Campus, along with a range of other professional and technical programmes, including advanced engineering, manufacturing, automotive trades, travel and tourism, hair and beauty, and catering and hospitality.

Colin added:

“Our students will be moving to City Campus next year so it’s very important to involve them throughout the whole process of the development. Not only has this been beneficial to their learning, but the site visits also give the students a glimpse into their new teaching environments and state-of-the-art facilities.”

BAM Construction’s project manager, Jason Kelly, said:

“Every construction scheme has an opportunity to contribute not just a new structure but also something valuable to assist the local community with its education and skills. We are trying very hard also to generate orders for local businesses to help the college give something back to Sunderland from the development of this scheme.”

As the development progresses, more site visits of the campus, which will feature industry-standard equipment and high-tech practical and theoretical learning spaces, are being planned in for current and prospective students.

In addition to the 150 courses on offer, City Campus will also house a range of commercial facilities including a luxury spa, fine dining restaurant, hair and beauty salons, travel agency, bakery, and a car repair service. These will be open to the public and will give students the opportunity to gain practical skills in their chosen vocation.

The development is being funded through the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Sunderland City Council and college reserves, and land has been secured from Homes and Communities Agency.