Andy Filmer is the project manager for Hartsdown Academy school in Margate, which will be opening its doors to the public for Open Doors Week 2019. Here, he explains the value of improved school facilities at Hartsdown Academy, how the project is utilising modular building and the importance of engaging with school children to change the perception of the built environment.

“Hartsdown Academy is a partial site refurbishment that will provide improved facilities for 960 pupils in Margate. The project is being funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and is part of the largest educational development scheme in the Thanet District.

Hartsdown Academy is the pilot scheme of a batch of five schools in Kent that are being developed by Kier.

A number of the school’s buildings were originally built in the 1950’s and have since fallen into disrepair. The refurbishment is much-needed for the school and its pupils to have a modernised learning experience with fresh facilities.

This project is formed of two separate phases. Phase one involves the demolition of five old teaching blocks, making way for a new 3-storey teaching block constructed from steel frame and concrete planks.

The second phase will consist of the modular construction of new changing and teaching facilities, which will support the existing sports hall. Modular construction is a very exciting trend that has been sweeping the industry for a few years. It allows us to construct the building quicker as well as improve safety, which is incredibly important in a live school environment.

Once complete, the school will have space for 959 students with an allowance to increase in upcoming years. The school will comprise of 20 new classrooms and will have facilities for students to study design technology, resistant materials, food technology, graphic products, textiles and electronics. In addition to this, it will have studios for students to study 3D art and music, as well as special educational needs (SEN) facilities.

In October last year, I assisted with the Hartsdown Academy Enterprise Week. This focused purely on construction and throughout the week I had the opportunity to speak to each year group talking to them about careers both in construction and at Kier. I was also able to speak with smaller groups of pupils that had a specific interest in construction and I talked more in-depth about opportunities there are in construction, in terms of apprenticeships, work experience and the graduate scheme.

Events like these are vital for showcasing the range of roles that the built environment has to offer. Our industry needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year and I’m happy that at Kier we are tackling this issue though our Shaping Your World™ initiative. This campaign aims to change the perceptions of the built environment and attract 11-15 year olds to consider a career within our industry.

I’m proud to be opening the site as part of Open Doors Week. It will provide a great platform for us to showcase this project and the great learning environment we are creating to the local community.”

To find out more about Open Doors Week, or to book a site visit, go to: https://opendoors.construction/