Work experience at the city's Chester Gate development

Engineering the future

A student on an extended industry placement with Sunderland City Council has been filmed and interviewed to help promote new further education opportunities.

Sam Billingsley 18, is from Thorney Close, Sunderland, and studying Btec Engineering at Sunderland College, which leads to a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering.

He spoke about his and is the training film's North East case study.

Sam said: "I am really enjoying the extended work placement. It’s meant I’ve been getting hands on experience of large civil engineering projects in the city, like here at Chester Gate. I am also gaining an appreciation of how the City Council manages these on a day to day basis."

The council is putting in new roads and highways improvements to support the Chester Gate development, which is earmarked for 500 new houses and being developed by Sunderland's Gentoo.

The council's £2m of supportive works include improvements to Chester Road, plus new vehicle and pedestrian access. A signalised junction is also being installed at the development's entrance as well as a new pedestrian crossing as an old underpass is filled.

The City Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Amy Wilson said: "The council work closely with developers across the city and always looks to assist and support new development wherever possible.

"The size of the Chester Gate development means there must be extensive support works and more highways investment for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

"These works are a good starting point for anyone wishing to experience and learn more about civil and highways engineering and how solutions are designed and, of course, how they are built.

"This is what Sam has been seeing, working on and getting first-hand experience of - a major infrastructure project in Sunderland."

Sam has been filmed to help promote placement schemes as part of the new T-Level qualifications due to begin in September 2020. He will be featured on the new website

Among the new T-Levels are Engineering/Manufacturing, which sit alongside A-levels and apprenticeships to give young people the technical and practical skills needed to be an asset in the workplace. T-Levels combine classroom learning with a substantial industry placement.

Mark Jackson, the council's Assistant Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Transport, added: "The council regularly hosts students in further and higher education as they develop their practical skills.

"And, yes, students who have come to the council on work experience and placements have subsequently come to work here on apprenticeships after receiving their qualifications.

"We were very pleased that Sunderland City Council was selected as the only case study in the North East to highlight how the T-Level qualifications can work and how they can offer a route into work and a career."