Brickwork students from Reading College were given a glimpse of what it is like to work for the largest brickwork company in the UK, when they attended a masterclass with Lee Marley Brickwork Ltd on 20 October. 

As part of the Association of Colleges’ Colleges Week, which celebrates how colleges get involved with employers and the community, the students were given an introduction to the company and the projects that Lee Marley Brickwork has done.  

Students could also find out about the apprenticeship opportunities that would be available to them and have a look at the tools and equipment which they would use as an apprentice. 

The masterclass is just one example of how the Industry Specialist Teaching and Knowledge Exchange Programme (ISTKEP) works in further education colleges. SMEs can also provide insight placements for teachers, co-create our curriculum, get involved in project-based learning, take part in employer forums and advisory boards and provide placements for students studying T Levels. 

ISTKEP has been commissioned by Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. It is part-funded by the European Social Fund. The three-year programme will run until December 2023.    

Activate Learning is working with three partners to deliver this programme: Activate Learning Education Trust, Newbury College and Windsor Forest Colleges Group. 

As a government white paper highlighted in January 2021, there is an urgent need to boost current industry skills and knowledge for further education students and transform post-16 education and training.    

The purpose of this project is to work in partnership with small and medium-sized enterprise employers within the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) industries in Berkshire to help young people get the skills they need gain fantastic, local job opportunities and address the current skills deficit. 

Oli Malorey is studying a Level 1 Brickwork Diploma at Reading College. 

He said: “I thought that the masterclass was really good and useful. It showed me different types of brickwork, including unblocked and stonework. 

“I’d like to go for the apprenticeship with Lee Marley Brickwork.” 

Chris Craig, Project Coordinator, Activate Learning, said: 

“We are very fortunate to partner with Lee Marley Brickwork Ltd, an industry-leading, Reading-based brickwork company, who delivered an industry masterclass to our new cohort of Level 1 Brickwork students on Wednesday 20 October.  

“The session provided information about career options, current business projects, the types of work they entail and the health and safety aspects of working on large-scale construction projects.  

“Our students found the masterclass highly informative and a great introduction to the length and breadth of the work they may encounter in their professional careers.  

“We hope to foster this working relationship further, with more engagements and opportunities to come over the future.”    

Christian Hatherall-Good, Training Manager at Lee Marley Brickwork Ltd, said: 

Over the past six months, it has been great to start to form links with Activate Learning’s Reading College Technology faculty, especially as the company head office is nearby in Woodley. 

“When I was asked to come into college and deliver a masterclass talk about Lee Marley Brickwork and its apprenticeship programme, I accepted straight away.  

“It was a pleasure to come into college and speak to the Brickwork Level 1 Diploma students and deliver the masterclass. The plan is to deliver further talks to the brickwork groups in the future on various subjects. Lee, the owner, is looking forward to attending to speak about his journey, as well as one of the apprentices who has completed his course. 

“Lee Marley Brickwork hopes to deliver work experience, site visits to local projects and offer apprenticeships to Brickwork Level 1 Diploma students at Reading College, when they complete their level 1 diploma course at Reading College.” 

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