Our hugely successful construction academy at Ysgol Llanfyllin is getting back under way as children return to school.
Both staff and students at the SWG Construction Academy, to help construction workers of the future, are excited to see what the year will bring.
The first academic year saw some students have hands-on experience working on our sites and the whole project has been deemed a huge success so far.
The SWG Construction Academy was launched in September 2020 thanks to a unique partnership with Ysgol Llanfyllin.
The students studying for a GCSE in Construction and the Built Environment received regular tuition from SWG experts to gain knowledge and practical skills which could lead to a career in construction.
The first year was tainted with Coronavirus lockdowns but that didn’t stop the hungry students learning and our commitment to the Academy.
A completely different approach
Robi Wood, director of learning for technology at Ysgol Llanfyllin, said: “Here at Ysgol Llanfyllin we are constantly looking for ways to provide new opportunities for our students.
“The SWG Academy has been a completely different approach to the curriculum, in traditional school projects the teacher is leading but in the Academy the teacher facilitates and the knowledge and industry experience is coming from SWG.
“It has worked tremendously, the students have responded positively and have built a rapport with the SWG experts in each lesson.
“I feel it helps to focus their mind, they see me during registration in the morning and ask if SWG are in that day because they really look forward to it and afterwards tell me how much they enjoyed the sessions.”
At SWG we hope to be training the workforce of the future at Ysgol Llanfyllin and we were pleased to hear they were interested right from the start.
Popularity is growing
When students were initially offered their year nine options, around 12 people were interested in this GCSE course. But after the SWG Group Academy was set up and Jacqui Gough delivered an assembly to talk about how it would work, 23 people wanted to study it.
Robi added: “There is a buzz about the Academy. The link with the company means a lot to the students and parents, the way it is backed by a professional company means it is a career progression opportunity rather than just doing a GCSE.”
As a practical subject, the government lockdown presented some issues but none that could not be overcome. A number of lessons were taught online with SWG experts running sessions on important subjects like risk assessment, recognising hazards and site security.
We also went through what we are looking for in a CV and helped with aspects of writing CVs and interviewing. This session has proved so beneficial in preparing the construction students for work that the school is now looking for other innovative companies like SWG Group to set up a partnership and offer this industry insight in other subjects.
A lucky few students, who were chosen after a CV and interview process, benefited from working on site with our carpenters, electricians, ground workers and health and safety manager too.
You can read more about what they did on work experience here.
Robi added: “You can see the difference in the lads who did the work experience placements.
“Their approach to it all now is a little bit different, they are not just listening, they are trying to understand because they have been on site and know the importance of what they’re doing.”
The students have impressed us at SWG Group with their positive can-do attitudes and our workforce has also enjoyed turning their hands to teaching and sharing their knowledge with the workforce of the future.
You can read more about how our staff have found it here.
We are all so pleased the SWG Group Academy and the partnership with Ysgol Llanfyllin is going well and are enjoyed seeing the growth in the students after the first year.
We are now excited to see what the second year has in store for them and the new faces who’ll be starting their first year this month!