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Real-life project experience for construction students in Oxfordshire

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Construction students from Reading College are gaining hands-on experience during a live building project sponsored and mentored by Oxford-based Beard. The students are benefitting from the 12-week project as part of their Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment.

Separated into groups, the students have been tasked with creating a pre-construction tender package for the new Innovation Accelerator Building at Begbroke Science Park in Begbroke, Oxfordshire. This is a £5 million project currently under construction by Beard which the students have also visited

The students’ tender packages will be judged by their Beard mentors, project manager Tom Harbottle and estimators Ed Nolan and Luke Bennett who are all part of Beard’s project team delivering the Innovation Accelerator scheme. The winning group will receive a prize from Beard at the end of the project in May.

“The aim of these learning initiatives is to give young people, hands-on experience which not only helps them with their construction studies, but improves their employment prospects when they graduate,” says Tom Harbottle, Beard project manager for the Accelerator Building scheme. “Modelling the assignment on an actual scheme that’s under construction has been a great way for the students to learn how these projects are planned, priced and built in real life.”

This Beard project forms part of a series of Project Based Learning activities, which will run across the three campuses in association with Beard and other industry partners in the county.


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  • Students with Tom Harbottle, Beard project manager (back row, third from left) and John Connaire, Activate head of learning (back row, fifth from left).
  • Photographs provided on behalf of Beard Construction




Joanna Grant