Sunderland College students building for the future at New Wear Crossing site

Chantelle Roberts with project manager Duncan Ross Russell
Chantelle Roberts with project manager Duncan Ross Russell
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Sunderland College students are laying the foundations of a career at Sunderland's new Wear Crossing.

The college has joined forces with Sunderland City Council and FVB, the joint venture between Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction which is building the bridge, to provide work placements across a range of areas.

Chris Glover works on site

Chris Glover works on site

Vice-principal Nigel Harrett said the college had been involved in the project from the off: "We have had quite a lot of involvement with the council since the first concept," he said.

"There is a huge amount of benefit to be had from students being on the site and putting the skills they have developed to practical use. It is a fantastic opportunity.

"To think these young people have been a part of this is just amazing. When they are driving over the bridge in a few years' time they will remember their time on site and that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

Preparing students for the world of work was a critical part of the college's remit, said Mr Harrett. It has joined forces with recruitment and training specialist Reed NCFE to help ensure students are ready for what the future holds in store.

"It's very important that young people are developing the skills that will carry them through their working lives," he said.

Seventeen-year-old Chantelle Roberts has a more clear idea of what that working live will entail after her time on the site.

Chantelle, who is studying for A-levels on maths, physics, chemistry and fine art, has an interest in architecture and spent some time in the site office, as well as working with the surveyors.

"I looked through all the different plans and they went through all the roadworks, I helped with the GPS survey to see how level the road was - it needs a 'peak' so the water will run off," she said.

"It was really good - I really enjoyed myself. When I first came here,. I did not know what I wanted to do but now I know I want to be a part of this."

Eighteen-year-old Chris Glover has impressed the team at the site so much that his placement has been extended.

Chris is studying for a B-Tech level 3 in engineering and has been helping with a lot of the work on site.

"It has been fantastic," he said.

"I have been working with laser levels and GPS and I have been down inside the cofferdam in the river. The site engineers are really helpful and they will always explain in detail what they are doing."