Inspiring the next generation – G F Tomlinson celebrates alliance with Derby school

Midlands contractor G F Tomlinson is celebrating its alliance with The Bemrose School, having supported it for more than two years by providing engagement activities to help pupils enhance their skills and awareness for when they leave school and also teach them about the construction industry.

G F Tomlinson ‘adopted’ the inner-city Derby school, which caters for pupils aged 3-19, after delivering the refurbishment of the existing sports hall and technology block in 2016. The initial refurbishment project and recent primary extension were delivered via the empa framework, which has since been superseded by Scape’s Regional Construction framework.

The scheme aims to promote construction as an aspirational career choice to boys and girls, as well as highlighting the range of job opportunities available within the industry.

Since adopting the school, Bemrose pupils have benefitted from expertise and practical help from the G F Tomlinson team, which has provided a number of informative and construction-themed activities.

These activities have included interactive careers and site safety talks, escorted visits to construction sites to enable pupils to learn about specific trades such as plumbing and joinery, work experience placements across G F Tomlinson’s construction sites and head office in Derby, and mock interview sessions for more than 150 students to improve their understanding of interview techniques.

Most recently, the G F Tomlinson team hosted a session at The Bemrose School’s Careers and Aspirations event for Year 6 pupils. This involved a presentation and a Q&A session on the different roles available within the construction industry and two activity workshops where pupils worked in teams to create their own site logistics plan and build their very own structure from a 3D model design.

With the ‘Adopt a School’ programme now in its third year, G F Tomlinson plans to continue its support of The Bemrose School with future career and work experience initiatives.

Kevin Dodds, operations manager at G F Tomlinson and enterprise adviser for The Bemrose School, works with the school to add value to the school’s careers, enterprise and employer engagement strategy.

Kevin said: “Our relationship with The Bemrose School has developed into a fantastic partnership over the years and it’s been wonderful working with the students and staff.

“We feel it’s our responsibility to share our knowledge and expertise with young people and initiatives such as ‘Adopt a School’ help us do this, giving students insight into the industry and the importance of the roles within it.

“These students are the next generation of construction professionals and it’s important we play our part to ensure they are aware of the opportunities a career in this vibrant industry can offer. Meeting and teaching the students at Bemrose is really rewarding; they are engaged and ask all the right questions. Myself and the team look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership.”

Executive headteacher at The Bemrose School, Neil Wilkinson, said: “We have enjoyed a great working relationship with G F Tomlinson for almost three years, which began with the refurbishment and re-roofing of the sports centre at the secondary school. This was followed by a state-of-the-art extension to the existing primary school, which has benefited the entire community.

“Not only was G F Tomlinson sensitive to the fact that the city centre school, which is located in a large residential area, remained fully operational for the duration of the project, they have allowed our students to carry out work experience on the building site, providing skills and training opportunities for many of our young people.

“As a school we aim to introduce all of our pupils to activities and experiences which don’t necessarily fit into the normal school curriculum, but will enhance their breadth of knowledge and skills once they leave school. Working with G F Tomlinson has provided our pupils with the opportunity to understand more about the built environment industry, enabling them to see the wide variety of skilled roles available and understand how professionals work together on real projects.”

Victoria Brambini, Managing Director, Scape Procure, said: “G F Tomlinson’s relationship with The Bemrose School is a fantastic example of the longer-term partnering benefits achieved through Scape’s frameworks. As well as enabling the client to increase whole school capacity by 15 extra pupil places per year, social value initiatives such as ‘Adopt A School’ leave a lasting legacy for the school and its students, long after the refurbishment and extension projects have been completed.

“The initiatives offered by G F Tomlinson play a vital role in educating the next generation, helping to challenge the skills gap currently facing the industry by inspiring our future workforce at an early age.”