Students from two Christchurch schools forged new links when they visited REIDsteel for the launch of their Young Chamber Programme.
It was the first industry visit to a sponsor company since the launch of the pioneering scheme in September, to bridge the gap between education and business. Students and staff were welcomed by REIDsteel managing director Simon Boyd and chairman Tim Reid. Christchurch MP Chris Chope, DCCI chief executive Ian Girling and portfolio holder for economy at Christchurch Borough Council Vicki Hallam also joined the group.
They heard about the 130-strong REIDsteel’s workforce and their wide-ranging work as a structural steel company, having the capability to design, ship and erect entire buildings anywhere in the world – from cathedrals in Central America and bridges in Africa to football stadiums and industrial units in the UK.
Mark Bradbury, who is Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) manager, and works manager John White led a tour. This included a presentation by managing director Simon, talks in the drawing office and demonstrations in workshops.
Structural design engineer John Harrison and senior detailing draughtsmen Darren Barton and Steve Roberts were among the skilled professionals on hand to explain REIDsteel’s detailed design and build process to the students. Grange student Faith Bailey, 15, was given the honour of pushing a button on a ‘profiler’ machine to demonstrate how intricately designed steelwork was cut. Faith, 15, said, “The whole visit was awesome. It was amazing to see how they build such incredible structures.”
George Simon, 15, of Twynham School, added, “It was a really interesting and enjoyable visit. I didn’t realise all of the different work they do.”
REIDsteel managing director Simon thanked the Grange and Twynham schools for visiting and presented both with steel shields showing their school crests to mark the company’s sponsorship of their Young Chamber Programme membership. He said: “Our intention is to help the schools but we also want to encourage other companies to become involved in building links with education too.
“It is important students understand the wealth of opportunities available and the impact they can make in their careers.”
Senior staff from the schools – both part of the Twynham Learning federation – paid tribute to DCCI and REIDsteel. Jane Asplin-Locke, headteacher of the Grange School, commented, “Visits of this kind really open the eyes of students to the careers available in exciting industries.”
Karen Dadds, deputy head at Twynham School, added, “It is an incredible opportunity for students, who are currently studying Engineering and may wish to explore it as a career, to see a very successful global business operating in their own local community.”
DCCI, which is Dorset’s leading business support organisation, now has 13 schools involved in its Young Chamber Programme. Young Chamber Programme co-ordinator Will Montgomery added, “The quality of the experience at REIDsteel was excellent. The company has wholeheartedly embraced the programme and the visit was so well organised.”
Any schools interested in joining the Young Chamber should contact Will Montgomery by calling 01202 714817 or by emailing Will.Montgomery@dcci.co.uk.