Pupils get hands on as construction site visit brings learning to life

School pupils have been getting their hands dirty at a behind-the-scenes tour of the latest building under construction at the fast-growing Bridgehead business park.

Pupils and teachers from All Saints Junior School in Hessle and Hessle High School visited the nearby construction project on a tour organised by the developer of the Bridgehead site, Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group, in partnership with local contractor PDR Construction.

The school groups were given a fascinating insight into work on a new headquarters for Centrica Storage, the UK’s leading gas storage business. Centrica Storage is moving its operational support base from Hedon, East Yorkshire, to the purpose-built new offices.

The visit was the latest example of Wykeland’s successful engagement programme with local schools which has also involved St Nicholas Junior School in Beverley, located near Wykeland’s Flemingate centre. Around 200 pupils have taken part in site tours since Wykeland began the initiative, designed to enable students to learn about career options in the development, construction and engineering industries.

Twenty six pupils, aged 9-10, from All Saints attended the latest visit, along with 13 students, aged 14-15, from Hessle High who are studying engineering among their options. The students enjoyed a lively series of talks and practical demonstrations as well as the opportunity to meet a wide range of construction trades people and professionals as they toured the site.

Pupils and teachers donned plastic aprons and tried their hands at a spot of plastering under the watchful eye of Craig Ham of Hull-based BEE Interiors Limited, the company supplying and installing the exterior steel frame systems, internal partitions and suspended ceilings for the project.

David Donkin, Wykeland’s Property Director, said: “These site visits continue to strengthen Wykeland’s relationship with local schools and are a great way to showcase the wide range of career options available to young people within the property development, construction and engineering sectors.

“The students meet everyone from architects and bricklayers to electricians and engineers, so they get an all-round picture of the range of skills and careers involved in developments such as this.

“We find they love to get hands-on and learn about all the different roles involved in construction projects and they really enjoyed trying their hand at plastering during this visit.”

Elaine Burke, Wykeland’s arts consultant, who co-ordinates and manages the site visits, said: “Wykeland’s site visits are extremely popular with the schools who take part. The students get totally engrossed in conversations with many different construction professionals.

“The visits are lively, creative and hands-on. Pupils get to use measuring equipment, try out bricklaying, plastering and other skills – they love getting stuck in.

“Back at school, the visits help to animate the curriculum – making maths, geography, English and other subjects come alive.”

Centrica’s new 20,000 sq ft, two-storey offices will offer state-of-the-art accommodation for up to 200 people and take the total employed at Bridgehead, one of the UK’s greenest business parks, to almost 800 across the eight businesses based there.

Ultimately, over 2,000 people will work at Bridgehead, which was developed with input from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to enable commerce and the environment to co-exist harmoniously.