Left to right: Dave Jordan (Ridgeons), Dave Lang (CRC), Jane Samuels (Edge Foundation), Barrie Wicklen (CRC), Anne Ridgeon (Ridgeons).

Ridgeons invests in education

Published:  18 May, 2009

CAMBRIDGE: Working in partnership with regional builders' merchant Ridgeons, Cambridge Regional Colleges (CRC) Centre for Sustainable Development has won an Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2008, sponsored by the Edge Foundation.

The award was presented to vice principal Chris Lang by Jane Samuels of Edge at a ceremony held on 1 April and attended by representatives of companies, including Fusion; Worcester, Bosch Group; Cambridge County Council and EEDA; as well as College governors and staff.

The College was recognised for "its pioneering construction curriculum designed to give students the best possible start in their careers". The training is delivered at the UK SmartLIFE Centre, based at the College's Campus, with modern industry standard equipment and materials; high standard IT and conferencing facilities. 

The College, said Mr Lang, has excellent relationships with a range of high profile, like-minded organisations, and Ridgeons is a key partner.

The merchant's business development manage,r Dave Jordan, worked closely with CRC throughout, acting as a link with suppliers to ensure best practice in training, and meeting with the AoC award assessors to support the bid. 

CRC used its teaching and learning in Modern Methods of Construction and Renewable Energy Technologies as a basis for its  Beacon Award bid. Assessors visited to see students erecting a full size light gauge steel frame house, installing a solar hot water system as well as a range of other practical activities. They were particularly impressed with the strong partnerships the college enjoys with organisations such as Ridgeons.

Barrie Wicklen, associate principal for Sustainable Development at CRC explained: "The skills needed within todays modern construction industry are complex and high tech, and demand a workforce with the ability to adapt to this evolution.

"There is no doubt that strong partnerships played an essential part in winning this prestigious Beacon Award, by providing the essential bridge between students and industry experts operating at the forefront of changes in construction techniques and materials."

Mr Jordan added: "The Government is continuing to bring in new Codes and Standards, and even with the current slowdown in housebuilding this region will be looking to the construction industry to help it emerge from the downturn. Ridgeons is very pleased to help CRC prepare its students to take advantage of the new, greener technology becoming available."

Chairman of the company, Anne Ridgeon, said: "I am delighted we have had the opportunity to partner with  such a pioneering College in this field which will help ensure our customers, as well as our own people, have the right skills and knowledge to meet the changing demands of our industry."

One example of the success of the course in preparing young people to move forward in the construction industry is James Hutt, a CRC apprentice who was awarded the Summit Skills East of England Training Award for Building and Engineering Services in 2006.  

He now owns his own company Huttie, which provides commercial and domestic plumbing and heating services. He supported the Award bid: "The course at CRC enabled me to expand my confidence and knowledge to be able to meet complicated and different challenges in the construction industry. I am now employing three people, providing renewable energy services."

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