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Demolition students get to grips with the high life

PUBLISHED: 10:32 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:32 30 August 2019

Demolition students Jack Hurlock, Ben Duncumb, George Mann, and Sarah Stockley learn to work at height. Picture: LSEC

Demolition students Jack Hurlock, Ben Duncumb, George Mann, and Sarah Stockley learn to work at height. Picture: LSEC

Archant

Working at height is possibly the most dangerous way to make a living, so it was a big moment when a group of students strapped on their harnesses for the first time and took to the air.

The demolition apprentices from London South East College are also trailblazers.

A group of 12 had their heads in the clouds as they begin their Working at Heights module with Erith Training Ltd.

Harnessed up, the first cohort of the college's Demolition Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard received their first taste of working safely and competently at altitude.

It generally centred on scaffolding and mobile elevating work platforms, quite often in confined spaces and under hazardous conditions.

For each apprentice, it was the moment of truth; getting to grips with what working as a demolition operative really means.

The Demolition Operative Standard aims to give apprentices a two-year employment and training package with top construction contractors Erith, Keltbray and Coleman Group.

It covers health and safety awareness, using tools, lifting operations, demolition strategies, remote-controlled and tracked demolition machinery, plus extra competencies in maths, English, IT, employability and communications.

Robert Williams, training director at Erith Group, said: "This programme is about ensuring new recruits to the trade adhere to its high standards of productivity and safety.

"Like any construction specialism, demolition requires skilled professionals who work collaboratively in a team and ensure the safety of themselves as well as their colleagues. This programme will give you an industry recognised qualification and open up a very exciting career for each of you."

Sam Allcorn, 25, from Welling, is a former bricklaying student from the college's Bromley campus and switched to demolition after seeing the opportunity advertised internally.

He said: "I'd never actually considered demolition as a career before. Construction had always meant putting buildings up rather than taking them down. But most new buildings only appear after the old ones have gone and the space cleared and prepared. I'm told there is scope to earn very good salaries in this line of work and, as in many other building trades at the moment, there is a shortage of qualified professionals."

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