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BAM Construct UK Site Visit – Redcar Regent Cinema

BAM Construct UK, which is working on the construction of the Regent Cinema on Redcar seafront, is hosting a number of student visits on-site. The opportunity was made available thanks to the Tees Valley Careers Shout Out Portal. 

Construction on the cinema began in September 2020 and is due to be finished in March 2022. BAM offered children of all ages and needs to visit the project at various stages. Younger children could hear the sounds of a busy site and see the unusual occurrence of building on a beach. Older students could learn about how the firm sequences works safely on such a tight site.  

The visits were offered to students from primary school age up to post 16 students and were opened to mainstream, SEND/SEMH and pupil referral units. There were eight slots available from 28th May2021 – 30th July 2021 with further dates set to be made available over the coming academic year. 

BAM is keen to see any work from the students following a visit – either a poem drawing or video about their experience – though this is not mandatory. BAM can also facilitate work placements for older students in the next academic year. 

Claire Gill, from BAM Construction, said that having the Shout Out Portal to advertise their visits was “fantastic”. When asked if they would use this system again, she said: “Absolutely. I’d love other regions to adopt it too! So far we have hosted three visits with a maximum capacity of ten people per visit which has been really rewarding and all really positive. We’ll be hosting more visits in the next academic year. 

“The schools have asked for further engagement for visits and work placements which is great as connections have been made which we can build on now from the portal.” 

Describing the visits, Claire said: “The visit to the project commenced at the site office where the Project Manager, Mark Laidlaw, briefed the students about BAM as an organisation, a bit about the Regent Cinema project and information about health and safety whilst on the tour. The students then got togged up in their PPE and made their way to site. They had commentary as they followed Mark around the site pointing out what’s recently happened, what will be happening next and what will be where when it’s complete. Mark also took questions as they went. 

“All the students have been great so we’re more than happy to engage with more moving forward. We love that when they’re tucking into some popcorn watching a film there, they can say, they were there when it was a shell. It’s such an unusual project!” 

Three of our local post-16 providers, Stockton Sixth Form College, Prior Pursglove College and Darlington Learning and Skills Centre took up the opportunity. Unfortunately, many students have missed out on valuable visits this year due to Covid restrictions being in place, which was having an impact on their learning, so this was a great opportunity to get a real insight into the construction industry before their course finished for the year.  

Debbie Brown, Learning and Skills Tutor at the Darlington Learning and Skills Centre said:  

“Learning and Skills had a group of five learners visit the Redcar Cinema site on 25th June. This group were between the ages of 17-19 years on a study programme. The reason for the visit was to introduce the learners to opportunities available, Mark talked about jobs and apprenticeships BAM construction offer. This linked to the employability curriculum that the learners work towards throughout their study programme. 

“Although it was terrible weather that day, it was well organised, the group took part in a presentation from Mark and were all interested in the work BAM construction are involved with.  A couple of employees were present and were able to talk about their experience with BAM.   

“Everybody was given PPE to wear to visit the site and we all braved the rain. 

The day was enjoyed by everyone, and the learners gave feedback on certain interior materials that they thought would work well in the cinema. A couple of learners who are interested in joinery were impressed that there are apprenticeships available with BAM. They all would like to revisit the site to see how the project progresses. Hopefully if the learners return to us this is something you could offer them or introduce new learners to the project.” 

Diane Bate, Careers Coordinator, and Sam Matthews, Employer Engagement & School Liaison Coordinator, attended with the students from Prior Pursglove College.  They said that they got involved in this opportunity to increase the students’ knowledge of available options open to them upon leaving college and to challenge their preconceived ideas of their career routes. They also wanted to enable the students to gain experience of different sectors within BAM Construct and to develop contacts for staff to network with and for the wider college team. 

As well as being a great opportunity for the students, one member of staff also stated that: “As a supporter on this programme, I also used it as an activity to increase my understanding of many of the different options available in order to improve my knowledge when giving guidance.” 

When asked to describe their experience, they said: “Once at site, the students had a talk from Mark, the Project Manager, who spoke about the re-build as well as his career journey to his current position. We also met Dillon, who is on a degree apprenticeship and who hopes to manage his own site in the future, and as well as this we also spoke to a student who was at another college doing a T-Level and completing his work experience on the project.  

“During our conversations, we asked about the possibility of seeing the project through to completion by a series of visits, which is under consideration.  We also discussed the possibility of work experience for the students too – we are waiting to hear if this would be a possibility. 

“Overall, the visit has given the students a real insight into their choices once they leave college and has helped them to develop a wider understanding of the many different roles that the construction sector offers.” 

From the feedback we have received from both the employer and educational establishments who have taken part to date, it is clear the Shout Out Portal has been a fantastic resource for bringing business and education together.  

The students who have attended have taken away valuable information and advice direct from employees at BAM Construct about job opportunities not only with them but the construction industry as a whole. 

The teacher/tutor comments show that the schools and colleges have a real appetite for such visits and have asked for follow up visits/work placements to take place so watch this space.  

Thank you to Bam Construct UK for offering this fantastic opportunity to the students of the Tees Valley and we hope to continue this in the future with help of the Shout Out Portal.