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Plumbing students all rose to the challenge when they took part in a competition run as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2020.

The competition gave students the opportunity to meet and gain advice from visiting industry representatives and the chance to secure an apprenticeship.

Based at Quarles campus in Harold Hill, the trainee plumbers worked in pairs and were assisted by an apprentice engineer. They were set an all-day task to construct an internal cast iron soil pipe system used in commercial high rise buildings, such as The Shard in London.

Their work was inspected and judged by Jonathan Gaunt, Acting Chairman of SoPHE (Society of Public Health Engineers) and Steve Vaughan, Regional Director of AECOM, who told the students that they were very encouraged by what they had seen. Individual winners and students awarded apprenticeships will be announced at a special presentation on World Plumbing Day – 11th March.

The challenge was jointly organised through the college and Sanjay Modasia, Operations Manager at JA Brooks Mechanical Services, with the help of Mark from Kylemore Services Ltd.

Sanjay gave out participating certificates and told the students: “It was great to see the passion in the room today. If there were problems, you retraced steps and sorted them out – nobody gave up. You all have a lot to be proud of with what you have achieved.”

Programme Manager for Plumbing at the college, Rennie Llewellyn, said: “I want to thank all the visitors here today – the manufacturers and suppliers - who have given up their time and who have provided materials to make this day possible. Thank you also to the students who have been focussed and have worked hard.”

The college, which is the only college in the UK to have been awarded a centre of excellence accreditation by SoPHE, is grateful for all the support given by industry:  JA Brooks, Kylemore, AECOM, Hargreaves Foundry Drainage, Blucher, Saint-Gobain, Pegler, Geberit, Tilgear, British Gypsum and CIPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering).

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Competitions for students to showcase their skills and get advice from industry experts were held at our Rainham campus as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Students learning Carpentry and those on the Construction & The Built Environment courses were set challenges to complete in a time limit and were then judged by visiting employers.

The carpenters, working in pairs, were asked to create from a drawing, a three-level stand to display pot plants or other ornaments. Every student managed to complete the task within the timeframe and judge Leroy Joseph, Managing Director at the Gateway Community Trust, said the finished products were all fantastic.

He said: “The standard has been unbelievable from these students. I have been doing this for 35 years and I am so impressed with them.”

The winners were Johnny Wybrow and Alex Little.

In the Construction & The Built Environment competition, students were asked to plan a building project, such as a leisure centre. They needed to consider points such as the size of the land, costings, materials, marketing campaigns and the legacy it could leave behind for the community.

In teams they then had to create a presentation about their idea and pitch it to judges Ruairi Coffey and John O’Connor, from construction company the Danny Sullivan Group which supplies skilled professional labour to the industry.

In presenting the prizes, Ruairi said: “The teams all did a really good job. We did ask them some tough questions, but there were some excellent presentations and great ideas. We hope the students will take on our feedback and that it will help with their development.”

The winners were Isabelle Clark and Daniel Pile.

Industry support on the day came from Danny Sullivan Group, Travis Perkins, CPI Euromix, Gateway Community Trust, OX Tools Global and Rollins Group.

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A UK-wide competition for professional bricklayers was held at the colleges’ Rainham campus on Monday – showcasing some outstanding trade skills from the industry.

It was the second time that the college hosted the challenge – and it is hoped that it will become a ‘legacy event’ inspiring our students to become expert bricklayers.

Leading building products manufacturer Forterra sponsored The Best in London Brick competition which saw bricklayers from across the UK compete to build a detailed structure from a bespoke diagram within a six-hour timeframe.

The winner was Alfred Thompson, from Ilford, who is employed by Swift Brickwork Contractors. Other entrants included last year’s winner Reggie Staponkus, as well as a college tutor and a former bricklayer who went on to found the company Brick Jackets Ltd.

The judges, Paul Eaglestone, contracts manager at Stak Construction, and Dean Degun, senior project manager at Swift, commented on the hard task they had in choosing a winner. Dean said: “There was such good quality on display here today, some lovely workmanship. I’d have every single one of the competitors working for me on my team.”

Bob Noseda, Havering Colleges’ sector skills adviser, said: "Many of our bricklaying students came along to watch the experts in action, which we hope will motivate and inspire them - who knows, some may even compete in years to come!

"I hope the competition will become a legacy event for the college. We need more competitions of this kind to showcase the remarkable skills and talent we have in the construction industry."

Ken Blatt, Area Sales Manager for Forterra, who attended the competition, added: "It was a great event today with superb workmanship in evidence. In donating our London Bricks for this competition, we hope to help raise the standard of bricklaying in Britain, with a view to filling technical skills gaps and bolstering UK productivity."

Industry support on the day came from Forterra, Swift Brickwork, Stak Construction, Brick Development Association (BDA), CPI Euromix, Brick Jackets Ltd, HSS Training, OX Tools Global and Rollins Group.


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Eight students have received Jack Petchey Achievement Awards for their outstanding contribution to the community or for overcoming personal adversity and showing great dedication to their studies.

Rheece Payne, Chloe Callis, Elizabeth Hills, Luke Mason, Spencer Batchelor, Lewis Hooper, Aaron Staras and Samuel Sambu were presented with their awards at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Colonel Mark Bryant, in a special ceremony on Wednesday evening.

The Award winners received a framed certificate, a boxed medallion and £250 to be spent on a project of their choice which will benefit a group of young people.

Lorri Garnell from Student Services at Rainham Construction Centre campus said: “It was an amazing evening and all of our students who were nominated attended the event to get their awards. They are a credit to our college.  There were many worthy nominations, but these eight thoroughly deserve recognition.”


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Congratulations to our Engineering students Spencer Batchelor (right) and Ben Eliot Ben Spencer 4 cropped who have both been successful in being selected for an Apprenticeship with the Daily Mail newspaper group as Maintenance Engineers.

Their success followed a tough selection process which included having to complete a presentation to Engineering Manager Martin Williamson and company management.

Along with other shortlisted Engineering students from Quarles campus, the boys had been taken on a tour of the Daily Mail site in December with Engineering tutor David Corroyer, followed by a question and answer session in the boardroom. The following week, the students were individually interviewed and had to make their presentations. Spencer and Ben were then informed this week that they had been chosen as the successful candidates.

Havering Colleges have, over many years, built an excellent relationship with the Daily Mail, where apprentices complete a Level 3 and 4 Apprenticeship which includes HNC and HND qualifications.

Engineering Programme Manager Sunny Bamra said: “We are very proud of Spencer and Ben for being selected for this great opportunity. Employer engagement is of paramount importance for the college. Having a curriculum that meets the needs of employers provides a seamless progression into employment and apprenticeships.”

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