Students at a Fenland college want charity or community groups in need of a helping hand with DIY projects to get in touch in a new initiative being backed by the Citizen aimed at giving young people hands-on work experience.
Whether it’s painting a wall, repairing plastering or replacing a window members of the construction faculty at the College of West Anglia’s Isle Campus are set to help.
Alan Seeley, Programme Manager for Construction at the college, said students get excellent training while studying at COWA but at the moment it is all done in a ‘sterile classroom environment’, which is often far removed from on-site conditions.
The aim of the new scheme is for students to get involved with helping local community or charity groups with small projects, offering their time and talent free of charge with the organisations providing the necessary materials.
“We are not looking for major projects that are going to take months to complete or are too complicated, because the students also have lectures and exams to think about.
“But, what we are looking for are small schemes, where students can learn what it’s like to work in the real world, working to a schedule and doing a real job. Things like redecorating part of a village hall, building walls, replacing windows or re-glazing a broken window would be ideal.
“Maybe there is a church or community building that needs a disabled access - that is something we could do. The students will do the work for free to gain useful experience. We have the tools and the students will obviously be properly supervised at all times, but the group or organisation will have to pay for the materials,” said Mr Seeley.
He hopes the scheme will help build better links between the college and the local community.
There are some other limitations on what the students can tackle. For instance projects need to be within easy reach of Wisbech.
Students will have to be transported to and from the site and travelling time will have to be taken into account as part of the working day. Transport will be provided by the college.
Mr Seeley said the college would look at all projects and choose the ones most appropriate for the students to undertake.
“Obviously we won’t be able to do every scheme, but we will do our best to accommodate as many as we can and we look forward to hearing from any groups who would be interested in this exciting project. We will not undertake private projects for individuals,” said Mr Seeley.
Meanwhile the college is encouraging anyone 15 and over from across the area to ‘Have a Go’ in a range of activities designed to give them a taste of some of the courses, including in construction, that are on offer.
The ‘Have a Go’ days are designed to showcase the opportunities offered by the college to the communities it serves and to open students’ minds to the huge variety of careers possibilities their futures hold.
As well as finding out what courses are available, looking round the facilities and meeting current students and tutors, anyone attending the ‘Have a Go’ days will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience of a range of skills. The days take place on October 30 at King’s Lynn, October 31 at Wisbech and November 1 Cambridge campus between 10am - 3pm. Places are limited and should be booked in advance at www.cwa.ac.uk/haveago.
If you have a small project and would like to get involved you can contact Mr Seeley by email firstname.lastname@example.org