Students at Chantry Academy in Ipswich to learn construction skills that count towards their GCSEs

(left to righ)t Michael Gray and Paul Warmington from Suffolk County Council, Ipswich MP Sandy Marti

(left to righ)t Michael Gray and Paul Warmington from Suffolk County Council, Ipswich MP Sandy Martin and Garry Mills from Eastern Region Roof Training Group. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk training company has partnered with an Ipswich secondary school to teach construction skills to young people at risk of falling out of education.

Eastern Region Roof Training Group will work with students from Chantry Academy to give them a grounding in a range of skills from roofing and plumbing to plastering and brickwork.

The first group of 10 pupils are due to start later this month when they will be released from school one day per week and work towards a BTEC construction qualification which will count towards their GCSEs.

It is hoped the initiative will help them re-engage with school and start to prepare them for a career in the construction industry.

Vice principal at Chantry Academy, Keith Greenwood, said; “We envisage that the motivation and engagement in the vocational learning they will undertake with Eastern Region will improve their attendance and achievement overall.”

Local businesses have lent their support to the scheme including Ridgeons, which has donated pallets of bricks and blocks, and Ipswich plumbing company Flood and French, which has supplied a range of bathroom suites. Ipswich MP Sandy Martin and skills and employment manager for Suffolk County Council, Michael Gray, have also visited Eastern Region Training facilities at Baylham to offer their support.

Head of learning and skills at Eastern Region Roof Training Group, Garry Mills, said he had been “overwhelmed” by the support offered by local businesses and that the hope is that other schools in the area will join the scheme.

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He added: “Mr Greenwood and his team have been a pleasure to work with during the early stages of this project and the additional support in which they offer their students has been inspirational.

“We welcome many more schools across the county who also wish for their students to get involved to get in touch.”