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Major developer gives talk to students

27 October 2023
Representatives from a major developer have delivered an inspiring talk to EKC Folkestone College students training for careers in construction.

Representatives from a major developer have delivered an inspiring talk to Folkestone College students training for careers in construction.

Wates is one of the country’s largest privately-owned construction firms, with an annual turnover of more than £1.6billion.

The firm’s Operations Director Mark Bridges was joined by Commercial Director Sam Hagans and Project Manager Graham Rumsey as they spoke about the diversity of roles in the industry, as well as the importance of health and safety.

Mr Bridges detailed projects including the replacement of the Eastenders set, which had to be recreated in minute detail in Elstree, London. He also demonstrated the importance of proper training, running through scenarios and examples where issues had arisen or safety was compromised.

The inspiring and informative talk followed two Level 2 students completing work experience on a Wates site, which has led one of the students to pursue a career as a site manager.

Mr Bridges said: “It’s really important that – particularly with the skills shortage the country faces – we promote construction in a positive way that attracts young talent into the industry.

“There’s so much more to construction than how people traditionally think. Every project requires a wide range of people with a wide range of skills, so we’re trying to highlight that there really is something for everyone in the world of construction.”

The three professionals also gave students their top tips for working in the industry, including learning as much as they can from people they meet, asking questions and putting their all into the work.

Heather Williams, Industry Liaison Officer for Folkestone College’s Built Environment department, thanked the team from the 125-year-old company for coming and giving the talk.

She said: “It was fantastic, truly inspirational and perfectly aimed at our students. The talk really reflected the values that we as a department try to instil in our students.

“The event, as well as the offers of work experience, highlight the close partnership being forged between the College and Wates.

“They have been so supportive of the students who worked with them and we’re incredibly excited to be working with the company.”

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