In a ground-breaking venture, students have been working alongside Havebury on every aspect of the design and build of the three houses and four flats in Mitchell Avenue.
Even the plans themselves came from students of the college’s construction management and building services courses, before being fine-tuned by Havebury’s consultant Infinity Architects.
The build commenced in November 2014, with trainee bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, plumbers and electricians working alongside Cocksedge Building Contractors to transform the site of a former underused garage. All of the work carried out by students contributed to their qualifications.
Now, the high specification houses and flats are complete, with the development named College Mews in recognition of this innovative project. Residents have already moved into their new homes.
Havebury’s Development Manager, Suzanne Newman said:
“It is thought that this is the first project of its kind in the country, where a housing association has worked alongside a college in order to give practical construction training to students from inception to completion.
We couldn’t be more proud of all the young people who have taken part, and we hope they’ve gained a great deal from the experience.”
Principal of West Suffolk College, Dr Nikos Savvas said: “This has been an outstanding collaboration between business and education, which has offered an exceptional educational experience. Nearly 200 of our students have been involved every step of the way, from the design through to the build of the project.
This unique project, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, has offered our students an unprecedented opportunity to get dirt on their hands and ache in their muscles as they worked shoulder to shoulder with established craftspeople.”
“Our students, who are the next generation of construction professionals, will never forget the part they played in making these houses homes for local people. I’d like thank Havebury Housing Partnership and their sub-contractors for embracing the partnership so enthusiastically. Together we have made history and not only provided seven new homes for this community, but a foundation of experience for the workforces of the future”.
Nick Enge, Area Manager at the Homes and Communities Agency said:
“Mitchell Avenue is a great example of how close partnership working at a local level can help address housing need.
Havebury Housing Partnership has really involved the local community along with providing an exciting opportunity for young students at the local college to work on a real life project, which will no doubt prove to be an invaluable experience to them all.”
“Apprenticeships have long been recognised as central to raising the nation’s skills and delivering strong returns for the economy. HCA is committed to working with partners and providers and is particularly interested in the creation and safeguarding of apprenticeships and also the creation of employment opportunities for 16-23 year olds.”
One of College Mews’ new tenants is Louise Oliver, who lives in a two-bedroom house with her five-month-old daughter Ella-Rose. Louise said: “I really like it, especially as everything was painted and ready when I moved in. It’s close to the shops and a children’s play area, and there’s really good public transport nearby.”
The project has cost less than £900,000 and has been part-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency.