Shaun Neale, Site Manager for Taylor Wimpey, which is transforming the former University of East London Longbridge Road campus into a development of family homes and apartments, gave the 10 and 11 year olds tours of the site.
Shaun outlined the positive environmental measures being incorporated within the development, including ‘green roofs’ to some homes, the roles builders and craftsmen play in the construction of Academy Central and gave details of a new primary school which is to be built on the site.
The Dorothy Barley pupils also got to see a digger and crane in action, and learned about the names of the new apartment buildings, which have been named after prestigious British universities and colleges.
The four school outings, which took place between Thursday 22nd and Thursday 29th April, were organised to promote skilled jobs.
Mark Chapman, a senior member of staff at Dorothy Barley who accompanied the children to Academy Central, said: “When we heard media reports that not enough was being done to promote skilled trades in schools, we decided, as a junior school, that this was something we wanted to address.”
He added: “Shaun explained the roles of scaffolders, joiners, general builders and so on.
“These visits have got all the children thinking about their careers at an early stage of their lives.
“Being a traditionally male-dominated industry, the girls were particularly interested to hear Taylor Wimpey encourages female workers.
“It really grabbed their interest when they found out there were female scaffolders and carpenters at Academy Central – which proves how valuable these visits have been to opening the children’s eyes to possible careers that they may not have otherwise considered.”
Mr Chapman said the children were fascinated with the progression of the new school, which Taylor Wimpey, and its joint venture partner L&Q, have contributed to, as part of their £6.25 million investment in the local community.
He added: “They were curious to know who their new neighbours would be, and the new playmates they would be making from the school.”
The pupils were also given refreshments and presented by Taylor Wimpey with high visibility vests, for use on further school outings.
The school enjoys a strong relationship with Taylor Wimpey after Shaun gave an assembly at Dorothy Barley last year on health and safety on and around building sites.
Mr Chapman said: “We cannot thank Taylor Wimpey enough, and Shaun has gone above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate us.”
Academy Central has a selection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments plus stylish three and four-bedroom houses, with prices starting from £129,995.
To find out more about Academy Central, the development in Lodge Avenue, off Longbridge Road, Barking, is open Thursday to Monday, between 10am and 5.30pm.
Alternatively, call 0845 026 4074 or visit www.academycentralbarking.com.