Construction Skills, Mace and Construction Youth Trust offer construction opportunities for Budding Brunels at Tate Modern site

4 A-level students from Westminster, Greenwich and Waltham Forest completed a three-day Open College Network accredited Budding Brunels course in November.

The project, centered around the extension to the Tate Modern museum, was funded by Construction Skills and supported by international consultancy and construction company Mace, and their client the Tate. The course introduced students to leading industry professionals from Mace (construction managers), Herzog and de Meuron (architects), Ramboll (structural engineers), Max Fordham (services engineers) and Davis Langdon (cost consultants), and following completion of the course 6 students were offered work placements with Mace on the Tate Modern Project, EC Harris and Price & Myers.

Budding Brunels is an Open College Network accredited schools engagement programme organised by Construction Youth Trust and aims to inform and inspire young students from disadvantaged backgrounds about higher education and career options within the construction industry.

The Tate hosted the first day of the course, providing space in the Tate Modern Museum’s stunning East Room with panoramic views across the Thames. Students were given interactive career presentations by an array of industry professionals working on the museum’s extension, including an introduction from Mace’s Tate Modern Project Director Martin Childerhouse and Architects, Engineers and Surveyors working on the project. Required skills and qualifications for a range of diverse careers within the built environment were outlined during the morning session, with activities centered around the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) taking place in the afternoon.

On the second day of the project the students visited the site of the £215m extension, and were split into groups and given guided tours by Mace’s senior construction managers, offering a detailed insight into the design and construction of the new building.  They were then taken to the ‘Tanks’ -  oil tanks converted by Mace during phase one of the project, which are now the world's first permanent museum galleries dedicated to performance, live art and film works. Complimentary tickets to a current exhibition at the Tate Modern were provided for all students by the Tate, offering students further engagement with the museum during the afternoon.

The third day commenced with a tour of the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe. The sessions included access to the original tunnel shaft and pumping house for Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, constructed in 1825. During the afternoon students were interviewed by representatives from Construction Youth Trust and Mace, with 6 students selected to participate in on-site work experience during the February half-term holiday in 2013.

Christine Townley, Executive Director at Construction Youth Trust said:

“With the Budding Brunels programme we are targeting bright Year 12 students from non-privileged backgrounds who are studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). We want to see these young people benefit from industry-led careers guidance and show them just how varied the progression routes into the sector can be. The programme aims to increase participants’ chances of achieving social mobility and to help them to make the right choices at a key point in their academic and personal development.”

Martin Childerhouse, Mace Project Director at the Tate Modern commented:

“The Budding Brunels was a great forum to engage with enthusiastic young students and offer an insight to the great variety of work we do in the construction industry. Feedback during the event was fantastic which gave my team enormous satisfaction. We are now looking forward to engaging on a 1 to 1 basis in the new year with the students during their placements to enhance their understanding of this exciting industry.”

Martha Dallyn at Ramboll added:

“The event was as rewarding for us as we hope it was for the students! It’s always a pleasure to share what we do, especially with such an enthusiastic group of young people. We were particularly impressed by their curiosity and the high level of technical questions they posed.”

Budding Brunels is endorsed by the Construction Industry Council and the Institute of Civil Engineers, and has been recognised by the Office for Fair Access as an access programme increasing students’ chances of participating in higher education. Last year Construction Youth Trust delivered 13 accredited Budding Brunels courses for 271 students across the country, resulting in 67 on-site work placements.