Hands on construction experience at Southall's new academy

A new training centre, The West London Construction Academy, has opened on-site at Berkeley Group's Southall Waterside to give young people the skills and practical experience to pursue a career in construction.

The academy has now been recognised as one of the Mayor of London’s Construction Academy hubs and provides apprenticeships that allow students to gain on-the-job experience alongside classroom and online learning – bridging the skills gap for the long-term and allowing students to earn as they learn.

And it couldn’t be better placed as it is situated on one of the capital’s biggest regeneration sites, Berkeley Group’s 88-acre Southall Waterside, in the west of Ealing borough. The development is set to create 21,000 full-time equivalent jobs, and a further 600 permanent roles. Berkeley is working closely with Ealing Council and local businesses to ensure local people are the first to benefit from these valuable career and training opportunities.

To ensure that as many local youngsters as possible get a taste of what it make be like to pursue a career in construction, in May over 75 year eight pupils got to grips with a host of new skills, including learning how to build and plaster walls, as part of a Construction Challenge, hosted by Berkeley and West London College at the academy.

Pupils gained invaluable hands-on experience of core construction tasks to give an insight into the industry and the different career options available. The challenges encouraged students to work together and think outside the box to find solutions. Pupils were encouraged to ask questions about the different career opportunities in the construction industry and routes available to them, including apprenticeships, which are offered at the West London Construction Academy.

The winning team from each school has been invited to return to Southall Waterside later this summer to battle it out in a final challenge to see who will take home the Construction Challenge Trophy 2019.

Damian Leydon, operations director at Berkeley West Thames, said: “The construction challenge event is a fantastic way to boost the future of the construction industry by inspiring the next generation.”

Once complete, Southall Waterside will provide 3,750 new homes on disused industrial land. The scheme will create a welcoming, open landscape with two new parks for everyone to enjoy. Other planned amenities include a health centre, primary school, community centre and a buzzing commercial district with shops, restaurants, a cinema and public squares.

View the opening of the academy on the Ealing In London YouTube channel by clicking here