School of Construction and Built Environment
The School of Construction and Built Environment is the largest School within Neath Port Talbot College and offers a wide range of programmes that cover many of the traditional, building craft disciplines such as Brickwork, Bench Joinery, Carpentry and Joinery, Painting and Decorating and Plastering. Professional and Technician courses are available through the BTEC Extended Diplomas in Construction/Civil Engineering.
NPTC is a major provider of Construction Education in Wales and is highly appropriate for those studying or being assessed at Levels 1 to 4. The School is also increasingly expanding the range of Higher Education courses offered. The College has Accredited College' status with the University of Glamorgan and offers HNC and Foundation Degree Programmes in Construction Technology and Management. More than 1,200 students and adult students attend the School weekly, including almost 300, fourteen to sixteen year olds.
Delivery of the Construction programmes occurs at all three of the major campuses: Llansamlet, Swansea, where there is a dedicated Building Craft Training Centre (opposite Smyth's the Toy Shop and Simply Gym); the Neath Campus, where both Building Craft and Technician/Higher Technician studies (up to Level 5) are offered; and Afan Campus, where a recently constructed workshop offers superb facilities for 14 to 16-year-old learners attending as part of a partnership with schools from Port Talbot.
Restructuring in the College, coupled with the construction of a new six million pounds, Electronic Learning Centre and relocation of the Mechanical Engineering workshops at the Neath Campus, has generated additional teaching space, which has been refurbished for the School of Construction. The Llansamlet Campus in Swansea has recently been expanded and enhanced facilities have been incorporated.
A new, specialist Building Maintenance Training facility has been established in Caerau, near Maesteg. This innovative Centre has been founded to meet the training needs of major social housing providers. The Centre addresses the needs of the supply chain (suppliers/sub-contractors, etc.) and the demands set by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Housing Quality Standard to provide decent housing.
Student recruitment has expanded in all areas of construction over the past few years. This reflects growing public confidence in the Construction/Property Industries as providers of long-term sustainable careers and Neath Port Talbot College as the 'place for your future'. The skills shortage in traditional building craft skills is an increasingly important factor in a student's decision to study at the College and several training agents such as CITB Construction Skills, Pathways Training, City and County of Swansea and Powys Training have adopted NPTC as their preferred place for off site training for their apprentices.
A substantial schools (14-16) provision operates through the ANDP and similar partnership arrangements exist, with various individual local schools in Swansea.
Strong links are maintained with local industry through various industrial liaison activities, e.g. work-based assessment, group training meetings; and professional links are maintained with Construction Skills, CIOB, RICS, Asset Skills, etc. and numerous training providers. Industrial visits feature prominently in the delivery of programmes and include vernacular, traditional and future building typologies - at locations, such as:
- The Museum of Wales, St Fagan's and National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
- Innovative modern building sites under construction, repair or refurbishment - throughout Wales and the south of England
- Urban regeneration schemes such as London docklands, the reclamation of land and buildings - at the Olympic Park, Stratford and innovative buildings within Westminster and the City of London
- The Georgian buildings of Bath and Bristol
- Future-build: events held at BRE Watford - to explore MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) renewable energy sources, innovative and natural thermal insulation, etc.
- Constructing Excellence and Carbon Trust Conferences and Seminars, etc.
- International visits take place in Barcelona and the College hosts students from a French Technical college near Nantes in France.
Short courses are delivered to local industry in areas such as: CAD, Google sketch up, Land Surveying, Bricklaying, Plastering, etc. Cost recovery initiatives are available through the January 2012 prospectus and the College welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with employers to design and develop bespoke training packages.
The School has currently developed assessment services for various NVQ awards for technicians and professionals at Levels 3 and 4, and would welcome approaches from local industry and the public sector to implement training plans for their staff.
Many students progress to long-term careers within the various Built Environment Professions, Construction Management and Allied Industries.
Areas of outstanding achievement by learners, lecturers, etc. exist, including Plastering where NPTC was recognised as being the best Plastering Department in Wales and the second in the UK. A female apprentice was also awarded a prize for being the best Plastering apprentice in the UK.
Recently a female student from Painting and Decorating represented both the College and Wales as part of an International skills exhibition in China.
Quality of provision is the cornerstone of the School's success and many courses demonstrate completion and attainment rates which are above the sector average and are considered excellent.
The College has an active staff development and research programme with many staff being members and leaders within their respective built environment, professional institutions and trade bodies. Examples include:
- A Research Project undertaken by staff to monitor the efficiency of a large, commercial, solar water heating system - in order to supply hot water services at a sizeable F. E. campus. This ongoing study has been published within the NPTC Research Bulletin and has made significant cost savings to facility operation
- An academic paper has recently been prepared for publishing within an academic journal on the subject of: The Effective Waste Management of Construction Waste within a College Faculty'
- Researching the potential for applying F. M. principles to effectively sustain the conservation of Historic Buildings and Estates.
The School has offered Higher Education programmes since 1996. The evening only mode of delivery, HNC (offered in conjunction with partner universities) has proved attractive to mature candidates, working within the construction industry.
Successful validation has taken place and there are HNC/D and Foundation degrees in Construction Management available - in partnership with the University of Glamorgan.
Future Higher Level initiatives which are currently being considered include partnering a local HE institution in its delivery of the BSc Facilities Engineering Management. The School has marketed at a number of major events and staff regularly address local and national events on current topics.
The School provides a valued service to the built environment sector across much of south Wales. We hope to have the opportunity to discuss your future needs and support your personal development. Why not contact us?