Construction students, Tommy Douglas (left) and Bonolo Mangwana (right) at ENGIE's week-long virtual work placement.

ENGIE Supplies Inspiration to Rotherham College Students

22 April 2021

Construction students who took part in a week-long virtual work placement with leading energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE have been enriched and inspired by the experience.

Over five days three students studying plumbing, carpentry and joinery learned about the company, about the workplace, important practices such as health and safety and what it is like to work for ENGIE.

The students also heard from a range of employees from ENGIE who gave talks relating to their experience and advice for working in the industry.

Level 1 Carpentry and Joinery student Bonolo Mangwana, aged 28, said the work experience had provided her with new hope for the future:

“As an asylum seeker, I am not able to do a full work placement but I can do voluntary work experience and I’ve felt like giving up recently, but the experience gave me an opportunity to see where I might fit into after college.

“As part of the work experience, one of the gentlemen who gave a talk was an older man doing an apprenticeship and that really motivated me – I didn’t realise adults could do apprenticeships. Hearing his experience made me realise that I shouldn’t be defined by my age and not give up on my dream. I love learning practical skills and working with my hands and in the future, I’d like to make my own furniture.”

Level 2 Plumbing student Tommy Douglas, aged 17, is in his first year of plumbing and was also inspired by the experience.

Tommy said: “College gave us a few companies to pick from and I chose ENGIE as I’d heard good things about them. Because of the restrictions everything was online, but the interaction was brilliant; there was a range of employees that volunteered to speak to us and they were all fantastic.”

Tommy continued: “We also spoke to some of their other apprentices – we’d be in their position if we got taken on by ENGIE – so it was good to hear what they had to say, and all they gave was good reviews. If I get the opportunity to do practical work experience there then I definitely would like to.”

In Rotherham, ENGIE delivers a programme of repairs, maintenance and investment work for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. The contract includes gas servicing and repairs, aids and adaptations, caretaking and estate management, responsive repairs, empty home improvements as well as a significant number of planned investment projects.

Rotherham College Construction Skills and Employability Tutor Anna Gascoigne designed the programme in collaboration with Kerri White, Social Value Officer at ENGIE.

Anna said: “The College is so lucky to have an incredibly positive relationship with such a respected company and that we were able to create a bespoke experience for our students. They were able to gain an insight into the construction industry as well as honing their employability skills. They all came out of the experience with improved skills, greater confidence and an excellent reference”

Kerri, who hosted the virtual work experience placements said the experience had exceeded all her expectations.

She said: “All of the students showed commitment, dedication and enthusiasm. They have been amazing, really engaging and they have learnt so much, they are a credit to the college. It’s been a pleasure to watch their confidence grow as the week progressed. The experience has been very rewarding on a personal level.”


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