Green light for work experience project

SCREEN BUILDERS: (left to right) Jack Brown, student; Allen Hooker, carpentry and joinery lecturer at Sunderland College; Josh Curtis, student; Chris Taylor, founder of Jam Jar Studios; Neil Hunter, carpentry and joinery lecturer at Sunderland College; Michael Thompson, student; and Chris Buckingham, student.
SCREEN BUILDERS: (left to right) Jack Brown, student; Allen Hooker, carpentry and joinery lecturer at Sunderland College; Josh Curtis, student; Chris Taylor, founder of Jam Jar Studios; Neil Hunter, carpentry and joinery lecturer at Sunderland College; Michael Thompson, student; and Chris Buckingham, student.
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CONSTRUCTION students on Wearside have helped to build the biggest green screen in the region.

As part of a major work experience project, 99 students from a range of vocational courses at Sunderland College, have been brushing up on their skills by helping to renovate a derelict working men’s club in Gateshead.

Working with the students from Sunderland College has been a great experience. They were willing, reliable and well-taught.

Chris Taylor, Jam Jar Studios

The United Servicemen’s Club has been transformed into Jam Jar Studios, which spans 10,000 square feet and houses a TV studio, café and managed office space.

More than 40 carpentry and joinery students have helped to construct the largest purpose-built green screen in the region, which measures four metres tall by 11.5 metres wide, and will take centre stage in the TV studio.

Students on plumbing, plastering, electrical and brickwork courses have also had the chance to develop their practical skills since the renovation project began in November last year.

Sunderland College has been working in partnership with Reed NCFE and Chris Taylor, the brainchild behind Jam Jar Studios, to give students this unique work placement opportunity.

Chris said: “Working with the students from Sunderland College has been a great experience. They were willing, reliable and well-taught. The college as a whole was very easy to work with and accommodated our every need.”

Carpentry student, Christopher Buckingham, 17, said: “I thought the whole experience was fun and helpful. I learnt what kinds of things happen on site and I enjoyed seeing the work we all did come together - it just gives you an idea of how things are built and you realise there’s more to it than meets the eye.”

Allen Hooker, a carpentry and joinery lecturer at the college, said: “Working at Jam Jar Studios has been a fantastic opportunity for our construction students and has helped them develop their skills and knowledge, as well as their confidence and independence. The students were assigned a variety of complex tasks that required great precision and skill, and they all relished taking part in such varied and challenging projects.

“None of the students had completed any previous work experience, but they worked alongside building contractors, structural engineers and other tradesmen in a truly professional manner. “I firmly believe that if you give any potential leaner an opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of, especially under a real working environment, they will surpass your expectations.”