New 'first of its kind' training centre launched in Aylesbury

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Constructors believe it is the first centre of its kind in the region

A training centre, organisers believe is the first of its kind in the South East region has been launched in Aylesbury.

Construction company, Morgan Sindall, is developing a 'Knowledge Quad', at Kingsbrook Secondary School.

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It is believed that only two other 'Knowledge Quads' are currently operational in England, and none of them are in the South East of the country.

The Knowledge Quad in AylesburyThe Knowledge Quad in Aylesbury
The Knowledge Quad in Aylesbury

Able to accommodate up to 30 trainees at a time, the Knowledge Quad will run courses focusing on skills, education, and employment.

Including, training and lessons for college brickwork students, sub-contractors on site or individuals looking to reskill and explore new career options.

A Morgan Sindall spokesperson said: "In order to better understand the region’s skill requirements, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) is one of the project’s key stakeholders.

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"Morgan Sindall Construction has also been working with partners including the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), The ABC Assessment Centre and Bucks College Group."

A specific purpose the centre has been built for is to try and address a shortage of skilled bricklayers in the Aylesbury area.

David Rowsell, Northern Home Counties area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Establishing the first Knowledge Quad in the South East at the Kingsbrook Secondary School development has been a great way to add important value to the local community.

"Having this facility onsite has meant that we could work with the project’s stakeholders to address a long-term lack of construction skills in the Aylesbury area while simultaneously offering local residents a pathway into a rewarding career. Whilst also helping to address the shortage of young people joining the industry and the growing skills shortage we face.

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“The impetus to set up this dedicated training facility stems from our commitment to enriching the communities in which we’re operating as much as possible. Thanks to the proven success of the Knowledge Quad initiative, we will be rolling it out to other projects in the Northern Home Counties area moving forward.”

The ABC Assessment Centre, currently uses the Knowledge Quad to provide training courses on masonry, the company hopes to run pre-employment and entry level training at the site too.

Councillor Gareth Williams said: “The Knowledge Quad is an innovative new space that opens a door of opportunity to Buckinghamshire residents.

“Having a space that bridges the gap between education and practical learning will help meet the upskilling requirements that are needed within the area. We are proud that Morgan Sindall Construction has selected our area, and we look forward to seeing the community benefits.”

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Local educational organisations have also been using the site to encourage students to think about life after education.

Nicola Hieatt, industry placement officer at Bucks College Group, said: “Our students have been using the Knowledge Quad since the start of the academic year, which is proving invaluable to not only their technical studies but is also having a positive effect on their transferable skills.

“The fact that the students are being able to learn their skill safely, in a site environment where a large percentage of them wish to be once they qualify, is fantastic for their future.

"We find ourselves in the unique position to offer this to not only the higher-level brickwork students, but also to the introductory level from January 2022 onwards. Previously, these students would have needed to source their own work experience which can prove difficult at their age.”

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On completion Kingsbrook Secondary School will serve 180 pupils in the Aylesbury area, it is set to open to Year 7s in September.

Simon Livett, Centre Manager at The ABC Assessment Centre, said: “Since starting to run the Centre’s courses at the Knowledge Quad in October, we have noticed improvement in engagement, participation and results.

“The Knowledge Quad functions as a tangible link between the skills acquired at college and the reality of the brick trade for Bucks College Group students.

"Evidently, this can only benefit full-time diploma students, who traditionally aren’t afforded the same access to practical training as apprentices.

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As a result, the upskilling we’re doing with these students makes them more employable, which will enhance the construction workforce in the local area and benefit the entire wider community in the long run.”