The £12.6m extension of a pioneering engineering college has been handed over by a tier one contractor with the help of its students. Morgan Sindall Construction completed the works at Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC) in Wolverhampton, a year after starting on site.
The 4,500 sq m extension has increased the school’s intake by 450 additional pupils, taking the total capacity to 1,050, while supporting at least 50 additional roles for teaching and support staff.
The expanded sports and teaching spaces will enable the delivery of a full secondary academic syllabus, allowing pupils aged 11-18 years old to be taught at the UTC. Students will also study a range of technical options in the built environment, including architecture, design and innovation.
After topping out the three-storey building in the summer, the contractor turned its attention to a reconfigured and enhanced external social space and multi-use games area. The development also provided a new performance space and refurbished kitchen.
As part of its commitment to delivering social value, Morgan Sindall Construction guaranteed eight new job starts for unemployed people from the area and achieved a 75% spend through local subcontractors. The contractor will also supply the college’s football team with sponsored kits.
Two pupils from the college were also able to cut their teeth in the construction industry and are heading into the second year of their T Level qualification with important practical experience gained through the main contractor and its supply chain.
The T levels were developed by the school’s Vice Principal, Simon Maxfield and the Department of Education’s Construction Education Advisory Board. They feed into the college’s reputation for providing young people with a unique combination of excellent academic achievement alongside first class preparation for future careers.
Andre Duncan, a student from the University of Wolverhampton who worked on the development, has also been offered a graduate site manager role and is now working at the contractor’s University of Birmingham Molecular Sciences development.
Andre said: “My initial thought was to make the best the opportunity that was given to me. I never had any on site experience, so this was a great learning experience which also aided me with my studies.”
Richard Fielding, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction said: “We believe the new learning and activity space will create an enhanced and more enjoyable environment and inspire the future generation of leaders in construction.
“Thanks to a collaborative approach, we were able to deliver the UTC on schedule despite supply chain shortages and I want to thank the whole team for their resilience and hard work. We also navigated the challenges of working on a historic site and worked closely with the council to retain the listed walls in the Springfield conservation area and ensured the features of the building are in keeping with the local area such as a sawtooth pitched roof and the use of red oxide cladding.
“We were very eager to take on two T Level students who can proudly say they played a part in the project delivery and we are thrilled to see our work experience student from the University of Wolverhampton has deservedly joined us as a graduate site manager. These achievement emphasise the importance of social value and is something we strive to achieve with every project.”
Morgan Sindall Construction was awarded the contract to expand Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC) by the Department for Education (DfE), and the Thomas Telford Multi-Academy Trust which operates the UTC. Funding for the UTC is from the DfE with a contribution from the City of Wolverhampton Council.