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European Social Fund

Harlow College achieves London Brick Construction Hub status

Leading building products manufacturer Forterra has announced Harlow College as one of six further education colleges in the UK to become London Brick Construction Hubs.

The six were chosen following a competitive application process last year in which colleges up and down the country were invited to take part. The Construction Hubs are central to the company’s nationwide effort to inspire ambition and foster raw talent in the next generation of construction workers. 

Given its status as the second largest brick manufacturer in the country, and as a major supplier of masonry products for new builds, Forterra is demonstrably committed to helping forge links between education and industry in the construction sector. Last month, Bricklaying Forterra Females (BFF), the UK’s first ever all-female bricklaying competition, took place at Havering College in London to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week. This was followed on 29 March by Forterra’s Best in London Brick competition, which was open to professional bricklayers and was also held at Havering College.

The five other colleges are Havering College, NESCOT, Truro College, Warwickshire College Group and Leicester College. With the support of Forterra, the colleges are set to embark on brickwork projects including internal competitions and local community projects, with the aim of increasing the skills and enthusiasm of their bricklaying students.   

Forterra, sole producer of London Brick, is in the process of donating London Bricks to each of the Hub colleges, as well as offering the chance for the colleges’ most outstanding bricklaying student to receive £500 worth of tools. The colleges will also benefit from site visits and talks from leading figures in the construction industry who will visit the colleges to share their brickwork expertise.

Harlow College has recently been granted support for a project funded by the CITB Construction Skills Fund (CSF), part of the government’s National Retraining Scheme. The Fund is focused on increasing the number of people with construction skills training, in order to create a workforce to meet the needs of the sector. The CSF will enable Harlow College to develop an On-Site Training Hub to help build the homes and infrastructure needed locally. 

Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College, said: “We are proud to become a London Brick Construction Hub and to be associated with a prestigious company known for quality products and services, innovation and technical expertise and commitment to the environment. We believe this association will support our employer engagement at a time when there are significant housing developments planned for the north of Harlow and major infrastructure projects happening locally, including the construction of a new campus for Public Health England and a proposed new hospital in Harlow.”

Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive of Forterra, said: “We are very pleased to announce the six colleges selected to become the first London Brick Construction Hubs. We have been impressed by the high standard of applications received, and we have every confidence that these colleges and their students will go on to produce brickwork of the highest quality and technical skill.”

London Brick, which has been in production for more than 140 years, has an iconic “frog” design which means it is easier to work with, making it an ideal product for bricklaying students. The brand, whose heritage is closely linked to economic regeneration due to its role in post-war housebuilding, is being used to support and inspire young bricklayers as they embark on careers in construction, with a view to helping fill technical skills gaps and bolster UK productivity. 

Stephen Harrison added: “In creating these London Brick Construction Hubs, we hope that the materials and access to industry-leading knowledge that we share will help equip determined students with the skills necessary to pursue successful careers in homebuilding and construction.” 

For more information about Forterra, visit www.forterra.co.uk. You can also follow the company on Facebook and Twitter via @ForterraUK and on LinkedIn.