The Partnership of Bridgend College and Persimmon Homes in Wales Case study

City & Guilds and EAL’s new suite of construction and building services engineering qualifications in Wales have been developed by working closely with leading experts to ensure they offer a simple, clear progression route that equips learners for further study and advancement. At the same time, they help learners gain industry-standard skills and experience, supporting career development and creating future employment opportunities.

The qualifications are being delivered at Bridgend College based in Wales, in collaboration with developer, Persimmon Homes Wales. Students who have completed the Level 2 Foundation in Construction and Building Services Engineering have progressed onto the Level 3 apprenticeship with the developer.

Good for learners, employers and providers

Discussing the reforms, Angharad Lloyd Beynon, Policy, Stakeholder and Partnerships Manager at City & Guilds shared her thoughts on the value of the updated qualifications:

“Together with EAL, we are empowering people with the skills needed to gain opportunities in the construction industry. These new qualifications will allow people to forge a career in construction with clear progression routes.”

The collaboration between Bridgend College and Persimmon Homes started in 2017 with an initial intake of 10 learners and over the years that number has expanded to include carpentry and bricklaying apprenticeships. The Head of Curriculum STEM at Bridgend College Rachel Edmonds-Naish spoke about how the reform can ensure learners get even more from their studies:

“These new qualifications give learners a much broader scope of opportunities than what has gone before covering construction, building services and engineering sector. Instead of just learning their trade, they learn two trades initially, and about the wider context of what it means to be working in the construction sector.”

Carl Davey, Regional Quality Director at Persimmon Homes Wales has seen first-hand how Building and Construction Services Engineering qualifications have helped to home-grow the talented workers their business needs, ensuring a sustainable business model and retaining talent in this pivotal sector.

“We have built a successful relationship with Bridgend College over recent years engaging with students from full time programmes and offering the opportunity to advance into the industry through our apprenticeship programme.”

Betty Lee, an Apprentice Carpenter at Bridgend College added:

“I would recommend the foundation course to others because it’s a good way to get into construction and it’s also a starting block for you if you want to progress. You can go on to do level two, level three, or even go on to do a management course afterwards. I’m thinking about doing the management course, or even starting my own business.”

It’s fair to say that the future of Construction and Building Services Engineering qualifications in Wales is now in the very skilled and ambitious hands of its apprentices, laying not only the foundations for industry-standard construction but also better pathways for their own bright futures.

Queen Elizabeth II – 1926-2022

Everyone at City & Guilds and EAL would like to express their deepest condolences to The Royal Family at this difficult time. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was an inspiration to us all and the finest example of public service, personal dedication and steadfastness that we have known. City & Guilds is proud to be a Royal Chartered organisation we are infinitely grateful for the support we, and many of our learners, have enjoyed through the commitment shown to the importance of skills and our charitable objectives recognised by this chartership. Her loss will be keenly felt across the nation and across the world. Our critical work continues, we will be updating our centres, learners and other stakeholders as further information becomes available.

Construction Newsletter – A round up of Continued Professional Development

Emerging Technology in Construction

Welcome to our second newsletter from City & Guilds and EAL. The newsletter will be issued quarterly and will include:

Newsletter themes

The theme of this Newsletter is Emerging Technologies in Construction. If there are other themes you would like us to cover in this quarterly industry update let us know by sending an email to

Using Technology to CONVERT Construction Education

Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) is re-launching a sector leading CITB funded project known as CONVERT (Construction Virtual Environment Resource Training).  This autumn CONVERT is preparing to offer immersive learning opportunities using industry leading Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality hardware and software to students in further and higher Education.  

CONVERT learning opportunities are being delivered through its unique partnership created between educational institutions across the UK, which includes Bridgewater & Taunton College, Coleg Cambria, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Leeds College, University of Wales Trinity St David’s Construction Wales Innovation Centre and Waltham Forest Construction Innovation Centre. 

The project aims to create a test bed where Immersive Learning is used alongside traditional teaching and learning methods to contextualise classroom-based delivery.  Additionally, embedding learners into our simulated virtual environments across four key industry vocations increase their familiarisation and skills upon specialist equipment, in turn reducing errors, accidents, time, and costs.  All this made possible through targeted and informed use of Immersive Learning. 

CONVERT’s solutions are as follows:

Gareth Wyn Evans, Head of The Construction Wales Innovation Centre, said:

“CWIC’s innovative CONVERT solutions aim to drive forward construction education and further promote the use of sector leading technologies with education.”

“For both education and the construction industry, immersive and remote training is engaging, cost-effective, safe, and provides trainees with the true-to-life experience not always available in educational facilities.

CONVERT does this by allowing learners to explore, gain familiarity, and practice in our simulated environment.  In turn, learners can develop knowledge, skills, and experience without the interruption of real-world consequences. 

Whilst Covid-19 has limited our access to live working environments, VR, particularly through the CONVERT project, has enabled learners to test ideas, components, and features before committing them for construction, where previously they may have only encountered the subject in textbooks and online presentations. This is effectively digitising the delivery and aspiring to change perceptions of the evolving construction sector. With the pilot now complete, we can’t wait to roll out access to our solutions further.” 

CWIC have already piloted its ‘virtual hands-on’ opportunities in partnership with the CIOBA programme was piloted with learners in further education, where our gamified software was used. The pilot allowed the learners to explore and experience the construction process by constructing a variety of different buildings virtually.  On completion the learners were able to compare the performance, sustainability and cost measures built into the completed building. For further information about how your learners and students can benefit from these exciting experiences please contact Julie Evans (

Building Information Management (BIM)

No newsletter about emerging technology would be complete without mentioning BIM. This fascinating article was written by Nigel Robins. Nigel is currently the lead data analyst on the Restoration and Repair Programme for the Palace of Westminster (UK Parliament). He has a background in heritage and conservation, particularly industrial buildings.

BIM, the new opportunities for heritage conservation

A digital view of the Palace of Westminster showing all the chimneys and fireplaces (coloured blue). We use digital models to estimate all the work we intend to carry out.)

A small screw hand-made in their thousands in the 1840s with a dimpled finish. BIM allows us to understand the large to the very small. We need to calculate how many screws we need to refurbish all the doors!)

When I was first introduced to the world of Building Information Modelling (BIM), many years ago,  my training instructor opened with “the construction industry has been doing things the same way for thousands of years…concrete is poured, bricks are stacked, timber is used for frames and fittings and systems for heating and water are designed”. Modern construction is changing those techniques, but equally, many traditional building techniques are being re-evaluated and understood from a sustainability perspective. Modern IT and data techniques allow me to trace supply chains for timber and other materials and understand impact of building and restoration on local and national environments and resources.

My current work is in applying new technology to the restoration and repair of the Palace of Westminster. The restoration programme is a complex mix of traditional stone repair, conservation of stained glass, plaster, and thousands of fixtures and fittings in brass, iron, and glass. Objects for repair or restoration can now be scanned in 3D and their condition assessed in advance of any dismantling or work commencement. Using modern laser scanning techniques allows us to record in great detail problem stonework or windows that may need replacement. I now have access to a 3D digital model of the rooms I am planning to restore, and I can understand and plan for restoration of wallpaper, flooring, plaster, doors, and windows in levels of detail that were impossible barely 5 years ago. I can create a digital model of a whole building and relate all my information to precise locations on the digital ‘twin’ of the actual building. This is already having a benefit as we record the precise geological details of every stone repair we complete.

Understanding my building in the new world of BIM means I can predict how much traditional repair I’ll need and whether I’ll have opportunities to use new methods and techniques. I know that some of my old sliding sash windows cast in an obscure alloy of bronze and lead may have to be 3D printed as we can’t reproduce the alloy or the delicate castings of the 1840s. Other scans of oak doors from the 1850s help me understand that I need 120 small brass screws for each door refurbished, important to know when you have three thousand doors to plan for!

So, my digital world is now being used to bring together modern construction and fabrication techniques and combine them with traditional methods of repair and assess sustainability impacts and footprints. I can simulate the energy performance of the repairs and experiment with different methods of restoration.

Everything we create can be easily brought up on phone screens, so a conservator or craftsman has all the essential information available at the right place and the right time, an incredible time and money saving benefit!

Perhaps the nicest thing in all this is being able to blend traditional building skills with cutting edge IT technology, which is already transforming the way we care for our built environment.

SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre

Here in Wales, SPECIFIC, based in the College of Engineering at Swansea University is leading the way in research into energy technologies and systems for buildings. The project has pioneered a concept called ‘Active Buildings’ in which buildings are designed to generate, store and release their own renewable energy. Their goal is to develop affordable technologies that can be manufactured in volume and re-used or recycled at the end of their life.

SPECIFIC’s demonstrator buildings are used to test and validate new ideas. These buildings include a classroom, an office and a warehouse. They are also supporting Pobl Group in the development of 16 homes for social housing tenants.

Improving the energy performance of buildings will be a critical part of efforts to tackle climate change. A core part of SPECIFIC’s work is to share learning and support for others to adopt and improve low-carbon building design. Through proactive engagement with the construction industry and business, they’ve helped over 200 organisations to run more sustainably or to develop low-carbon products and processes. They also support outreach with schools and colleges to encourage the development of relevant skills for the construction industry of the future.

You can find out more about this ground-breaking work see case studies and information relating to the new technologies that have been used such as organic photovoltaics and solar heat storage.

Visit the SPECIFIC website

The B1M- collection of educational and inspiring videos.

If you are looking for resources to inspire, engage and motivate your learners then look no further than The B1M. The B1M’s website states ‘we love construction, and we want the whole world to love it too’. The website offers high quality short videos on a wide range of construction topics including emerging technologies. The good news is they are all free to view!

You can find videos on topics ranging from BIM, Construction Robotics, Smart Cities and Micro living to name but a few.

Highlights include:

Why this 3-D printed house will change the world: This video demonstrates the progress being made in the technology for 3-D printed buildings and discusses the savings and efficiencies that this can bring.

View the video

Why all buildings should be timber: This video shows how innovative processing methods have resurrected timber as the building material of choice moving into the future.

View the video

How buildings can power our world: This video examines how we can generate energy, save energy and improve the energy efficiency of old buildings using new technology.

View the video

Innovative materials in construction: This is a fascinating short clip that explains self-healing concrete, energy generating floor tiles and 4-d printing methods that could lead to huge advances in plumbing and other areas of construction.

View the video

Off-site construction

Factory-made ‘modular’ housing is an option to quickly increase the number of high-quality social and affordable homes being built across Wales.  

As modular homes can be manufactured to exacting standards in a controlled factory environment, they overcome the challenge of trying to build in all weathers and open the possibility to embrace technology to introduce further efficiencies to the production process.

To find out more about the facts, fiction, and the future of modular buildings, you may find this recorded webinar useful. The webinar is delivered by Ben Wernick , Managing director of Wernick Construction and the event was supported by The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

View the webinar

CPD Opportunities – Trade shows

If you’re looking for opportunities for Continued Professional Development UK Construction Week is the UK’s largest built environment event and is staged in Birmingham 5-7 October 2021 and London 3-5 May 2022.

There is has a huge range of interesting topics including emerging technologies in construction. If you can’t make it to the events, there is an online platform that you can sign up to.

Visit the UK Construction Week website

In Wales, The Welsh Construction Show has been postponed until 2022 but will offer information on new and innovative products and services, construction industry developments and informative seminars by UK Experts.

Visit the website

Qualification Wales – CBSE transitional arrangements

Qualifications Wales contacted centres in February to let them know that due to the disruption that lockdown has caused to teaching and training across Wales they have now revised the Construction and Building Services Engineering qualification arrangements that will be in place for September 2021 and September 2022.

Qualification arrangements in summary:

While Qualifications Wales will allow for the extension of designation of the current qualifications, they will be encouraging providers to start learners on the new qualifications as early as possible.

Read the letter from Qualification Wales

View the infographic from Qualification Wales

Skills for Wales newsletter – Spring 2021 issue

Welcome to our first Skills for Wales newsletter, the theme is Heritage Construction and includes:

The theme of this initial Newsletter is Heritage Construction.
Please get in touch to let us know what other themes that you would like to see included in this quarterly industry update.

Fantastic and Free! – On-line learning resources

If you are looking for interactive resources to help your learners understand old buildings- look no further!

Three modules have been developed thanks to CITB funded Heritage Construction in Wales (HECW) Project.

The modules are:

Each module is available in both Welsh and English and is aimed at an introductory level of understanding. These resources are free for you to use by clicking on the headings above.

Rare Roman remains

What happens if you discover rare Roman remains on the site of your new housing development?

To find out more about how archaeologists and developers work together to protect our heritage, read the full story.

Training for the Trainers

Tutors from Pembrokeshire College have joined the Tywi Centre team for the first in a series of five heritage training sessions. The tutors are all highly skilled and experienced but wanted to brush up on their heritage construction skills in preparation for the changes in the curriculum.

From September 2021 all new Construction and Built Environment students will be taught about the importance of historic buildings in Wales. They will learn about how their care and repair differs from modern construction methods. 

Topics in this series of CPD training include:

The courses are half day sessions delivered on-line. The Tywi Centre are also developing resources for the Tutors to use with their learners. If you would like to find out more about the Tywi Centre and their Train the Trainer courses, find out more on the dedicated webpage.

Short films to support heritage construction training

A series of short films have been produced by the Welsh Traditional Buildings Forum to support training providers with their delivery. Click on the links above to view the films.

The short films include:

Climate change and building restoration- what is the link?

There are many reasons for caring appropriately for our old buildings. These include cultural reasons as old buildings hold links to the people that once lived or worked there. They are the source of local character and a sense of place. They have economic value as they attract tourists and offer character and warmth to business premises. 

Early research also shows that appropriate reuse and upgrading of our stock of old buildings can make substantial carbon savings. Find out more on the dedicated webpage.

Specialist Heritage Training in Wales

Please use the links below to help you source the Heritage Construction Training and advice that you need.

The Welsh National Roofing Training Group is a non-profit organisation, funded by a grant from CITB.  It is in place for the purpose of supporting, organising and co-ordinating roof training at all levels for its members. This includes accredited heritage roofing training. 

The Tywi Centre is a CITB Accredited Training Organisation. It delivers a range of heritage construction courses. For details of their practical lime plastering, masonry and carpentry courses, find out more on the dedicated document.

Historic England Website offers huge bank of training resources from general heritage management, technical buildings conservation and climate and heritage series. You can also explore in-depth e-learning modules or learn about project management for heritage.

Building Services Engineering

For anyone who is involved in the installation of building services in Traditional Buildings, a wealth of advice and guidance is available on the Historic England website.

The Historic England website has a section dedicated to building services engineering.

Here you can find advice on condition surveys and investigations which are the first steps when replacing or installing new building services or planning a maintenance programme. There’s an introduction to the core principles when installing new building services together with advice on good maintenance of building services systems  in historic buildings.

You can also access a series of webinars delivered and recorded by Historic England on the theme of Building Services. These include:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter, please get in touch to let us know what other themes you would like to see included in this quarterly industry update by emailing:

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