Southall Community College Construction and Green Skills Centre, part of West London College, had a special guest join them during Colleges Week – local MP Virendra Sharma.
Mr Sharma who is the MP for Ealing Southall visited the centre on 17 October 2023 where he was given a tour and learned more about the work the college does in collaboration with industry employers.
The centre, which opened in May 2023, trains around 300 construction learners and apprentices a year.
Mr Sharma said: “There is such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere here and that is the most important part for students to learn. In my lifetime I’ve seen people turning away from studying construction and that’s why we have such a skills shortage. Now it is becoming a popular subject again and women are proving they can do it just as successfully as men. I am very glad that the college is within my constituency.”
A number of students had an opportunity to meet Mr Sharma and show him what they two.
A level 2 plumbing student, Aleks Bogdalski, explained the intricacies of creating and testing copper pipe frames.
In the brickwork section, Mr Sharma spoke with Level 2 students Ashley Purewal and Steven Abi Elias about wall-strengthening principles. Brickwork student Tomasz Zarzycki demonstrated the creation of a plumb line to ensure straight walls.
The tour finished in the carpentry workshop, where Julia Kowalczyk explained the concepts of crafting common and hip rafters for roofing.
Aaron Black, another Carpentry Level 2 student, highlighted the importance of maths in carpentry, from calculating angles to dimensions.
Aaron said: “I know the names of all the roofing parts, rise, span, run, pitch line, cuts and I apply pythagoras and trigonometry to calculate lengths and use sines and cosines to calculate angles. I am confident I could construct a roof.”
Lisa Portland, assistant principal, expressed her pride in the students’ performance during the visit, noting their confidence and competence in discussing their trades.
Ms Portland said: “Our students took a keen interest in the visit from our MP and they greatly appreciated the interest he took in their work. They demonstrated their skills well and spoke very confidently about their trades. I am very proud of them.”