- More than 800 applicants applied after the housebuilder rolled out the degree programme externally
- The first-of-its-kind degree will see its latest cohort of students enroll this week
- Fully funded by Redrow, the three-year course teaches the skills needed to work in any department at a housebuilder
- Case study available of a final year degree student, 26-year-old assistant engineer Rhiannon Elliot
Leading housebuilder Redrow has revealed that more than 800 applicants applied for its Sponsored Construction Management Degree Programme, formerly known as Redrow’s Housebuilding degree, this summer. This follows the housebuilder opening the programme up to those not currently employed by Redrow.
The degree programme launched in 2017 in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Coleg Cambria and, over a three-year period, teaches participants the skills needed to work in a range of departments at a housebuilder. The programme is the first dedicated degree of its kind, with students splitting their time between studying and working in one of Redrow’s divisions across England and Wales.
Until now, Redrow’s degree has been offered to current employees with a level three qualification, or a minimum five years in the industry, who would embark on the programme to attain a BSc (Hons) Construction Management in Housebuilding. This year, Redrow invited school leavers with three A-Level pass grades or a BTEC Level 3 to apply, providing them with a first level entry opportunity to join the construction industry. The programme attracted more than 800 external applications this year, with 17 successful candidates joining Redrow’s South Midlands, South East, North West, Lancashire, Southern Counties and Yorkshire divisions as undergraduates this week. The degree learning will commence in January 2021 at Coleg Cambria.
Anna Milne and Kate Hopkins, Heads of Talent at Redrow, comment: “We were blown away by the volume of high-quality applications we received for our Sponsored Construction Management Degree Programme. Many students who completed their A-Levels or BTEC courses this summer wanted a higher education route which provided important skills for an exciting career, at the same time as providing an income. Our degree is fully funded by Redrow and allows students to study for a BSc (Hons) Construction Management in Housebuilding and learn on the job whilst getting paid. Our first cohort, enrolled in 2017, are now in their final few months of the degree. They have learned so much that has been invaluable to their careers and have also made life-long friends – we’re now excited to welcome our new students to Redrow and wish them the best of the luck.”
Fully funded by Redrow, the course provides a deep dive into housebuilding skills, including assessing quality, project management, health and safety, business skills and negotiation, right through to relevant aspects of law, mathematics and economics.
Each year there are six block weeks of learning that are taught in partnership between LJMU’s Department of the Built Environment, Coleg Cambria and Redrow business experts, with the rest of the contact time satisfied through practical site visits and tutorials with support from Redrow’s divisional Managing Directors and their teams. The students are assessed in a variety of ways including presentations, group projects, examinations, coursework and a final year dissertation project. For the rest of their time on the course, students will partake in rotational placements in each of Redrow’s departments from technical through to land.
There are currently three cohorts studying towards this degree qualification, with the first cohort of undergraduates due to graduate at the end of 2020.
Case study of a third-year degree student
Rhiannon Elliot (26) is an assistant engineer in Redrow’s Midlands division and is three months away from completing her three-year degree programme at Redrow, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Coleg Cambria.
“I joined Redrow just over three years ago and it is strange to think that before then I wasn’t aware of the opportunities available within the construction industry, let alone that I’d now be in my final year of Redrow’s housebuilding degree and managing three of my own sites from a technical perspective.
“When I was at school, we were advised to complete our A-Levels and go to university – we weren’t aware of any apprenticeship schemes and I didn’t know what it was that I wanted to do.
Rhiannon heard about Redrow’s apprenticeship programme through a friend. “I always thought that a career in construction just involved manual labour work, which wasn’t for me. Yet, after talking with the team at Redrow about an opportunity to join their apprenticeship programme as a technical apprentice, I realised that it wasn’t just about being handy with tools – there were opportunities in quantity surveying, law, finance, and health & safety.”
After a few months of being on the apprenticeship programme, Rhiannon was offered the opportunity to join Redrow’s Housebuilding Degree programme, the first of its kind in the UK. “I am so pleased I decided to enrol onto the degree. When I joined the company I was very new to the industry but over the last three years, thanks to the degree and really supportive teams, I have learned so much about all of the different skills and departments at Redrow. What I have learned through the degree has been invaluable in helping me progress in my career.”
Rhiannon’s role as assistant engineer sees her lead on a range of tasks from solving day-to-day site engineering queries through to obtaining technical approval from local highway authorities and water companies for the designs of roads and sewers, and coordinating with utility companies on the installation of gas, water and electric mains and services to developments.
Rhiannon is now embarking on the last three months of her degree, during which she will be finishing her dissertation that investigates the skills shortage in construction. Throughout her time on the degree she has also undertaken a mix of coursework, exams, and a group project with her fellow degree students.
“Part of what I have loved about being on the degree programme is being able to meet and learn from other degree students who have various roles across Redrow’s divisions. We’re a close group and will certainly be staying in touch after we complete the programme.”
Having been previously unaware of the opportunities within the construction and housebuilding industries herself, Rhiannon’s advice to future school leavers is to explore all options. “If you’re unsure about going to university I would suggest attending careers fayres as and when they are back up and running, researching different apprenticeship and graduate schemes and most importantly, be open to different industries, particularly if you don’t know much about them.
“There is more work that needs to be done in raising awareness of the types of opportunities available in construction, but it is really great to look around the office and see an even split of men and women and a strong mix of skills.”