Twenty students from Bishop Auckland College toured the Thermal Insulation Contractors Association’s (TICA) facility in Darlington over two days as part of the Build UK Open Doors initiative, designed to highlight the wealth of career options within the construction industry.
During their visits, the students, who are taking courses in painting and decorating, construction skills, and bricklaying, were briefed by TICA instructors, and spoke with Level 3 apprentices attending the centre from across the UK.
They were also given an opportunity to cut and shape thermal insulation and fit it to the test rigs used by TICA apprentices as part of their training.
Helen Anderson, the trade association’s head of learning, said: “Thermal insulation is not something that readily springs to mind when considering a career in construction.
“However, there is huge demand from employers for skilled apprentices being fuelled by a rise in construction projects and a shift towards improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.”
Michelle Andelin, head of school for construction at Bishop Auckland College, added: “Previously, our students have visited construction sites as part of the Open Doors initiative, but this year we wanted to highlight different career pathways available within the sector.
“Our students listened to the experiences of former and current TICA apprentices, the opportunities available, as well as picking up a few practical skills.”
TICA, which last year moved from an annual to quarterly intake for its Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships in thermal insulation, is currently training a record 130 apprentices, up from an average 60 to 80 per year.
It involves a mix of on the job training, supported by block release workshop-based learning, allowing apprentices to gain the technical knowledge and practical experience to gain a nationally recognised qualification relevant to the thermal insulation industry.