On Thursday 28 November, members of the Reading University Construction Society were invited to take part in ‘Try a Trade day’, hosted by Brookfield Multiplex, the principal contractor at Bridges Hall of Residence student accommodation project.
The day was designed to give the group a taste of the real world of construction work in return for 4 hours that would be given back through RUSU community projects. The event took place at the project site and consisted of second year, third year and master’s students.
Graduate site manager Greg Fox, a former University of Reading student, began the day with a health and safety and quality assurance induction to on-site work. When asked about the benefits of the day’s work shop Greg said: “Any experience is good experience, the degree is theory based so it is good to get out there and see how the industry works in the real world.”
The group were taken on a tour of the site and shown specific rooms and techniques used when building them. The group were invited to try a range of activities, this included bricklaying, plastering and the operation of an excavator. All students were given detailed instructions and a chance to try these tasks themselves, under supervision by the experts.
Adam Rossington, President of the Construction Society and third year building surveying student, commented that his degree: “was an exciting line of work to get into where qualifications can lead to management” and aimed to be accredited with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors upon graduation, the recognised industry “gold standard.” Further to this, he believed that the workshop would help: “build a community within the school, provide the students with some real world experience, and a deeper appreciation of the trades.”
Helpful and friendly staff at Brookfield Multiplex ran the ‘Try a Trade Day’ and appreciation of the workshop was evident from both lecturers and students. Many of them had not experienced work like this before and Tabarak Musa Awad Ballal, Lecturer of Construction Technology at the University, said the workshop was “fantastic because construction is a practical subject and it is important that the students are given exposure and understanding of the elements taught.”
Tabarak is a keynote speaker for encouraging women to work in the industry and she commented: “more and more women are getting involved in this line of work.” She described her students as “second to none” and “inspirational.”