Pupils help build Thetford Academy

A group of Thetford pupils will experience working on a real-life building site as an ambitious project continues.

The work, at Thetford Academy’s north site on Croxton Road, will eventually allow for all Thetford Academy pupils to be taught on one site by September 2013, and includes a new building as well as the refurbishment of existing ones.

Each week one pupil with an interest in the trade will spend five days working on site with the aim of learning new skills.

Site foreman Jamie Luongo said to date around five youngsters had taken part, with a different person each week now scheduled until the end of the project.

“It’s refreshing when you get people who want to learn and it makes my job a bit easier,” he said “They can get a good reference out of it and it’s a really good opportunity for them.

“I’d have jumped at a chance like this when I was their age – it all helps.”

Shane Smith, 16, a year 11 academy pupil who is studying for his GCSEs and spends one day a week learning construction at Easton College, has just completed five days on the site.

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He said: “They put me on to plumbing because that’s what I said I wanted to do but I’ve done lots of things. It’s good experience on a work site and they’ve treated me like it’s a job.

“It’s given me a better idea of how it’s going to be in the real world.”

The scheme, a mix of two and three-storey buildings designed by London-based Jestico and Whiles architects and carried out by contractors Balfour Beatty, is due to be completed in September next year.

Facilities will include three new football/rugby pitches, four tennis and three netball courts, a sports hall which will be open in January, a new sixth-form centre, new science and design and technology classrooms which will open on to outdoor learning areas, and a new reception area, complete with a caf�.