The first students to sign up for the innovative Building Birmingham Scholarship programme are celebrating after successfully completing their first year and securing valuable work placements.
Launched by Birmingham City Council in November 2013, the programme provides access to a wide range of education, employment and training opportunities for young people aged 16 to 24 wishing to pursue a career in the construction sector, including financial support for those aspiring to continue studies at higher education on construction related courses.
Sabila Zaman, 20, of Ward End, is among the students to have successfully completed their first year, achieving an overall first and undertaking a work placement with construction company EC Harris. The feat is even more remarkable considering Sabila switched her studies from pharmaceutical science to construction after realising that was where her passion lay.
She said: “The scholarship programme has helped support my degree in construction management at Birmingham City University; I received coaching, mentoring and financial support which has helped me focus on my studies without constantly having to worry about my financial situation.
“Through the help and support of the programme, I was able to make connections and network with a wide range of construction organisations on the city's Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) house-building programme, which has given me greater confidence. My placement at EC Harris is allowing me to advance my knowledge in construction, which I know will complement my studies and give me invaluable first-hand experience.”
Another successful bursary scholar, Courtney Daniel, 25, from Newtown, has secured himself a placement at developer Jessup as a trainee site manager during the summer.
He said: “I am really enjoying the placement; it has helped me put my learning into practice and work on some of the BMHT development sites.
“This experience will also help me learn some valuable skills which will help support my studies for when I return back in September.”
Cllr Tahir Ali, Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for Development, Transport and the Economy, said: “This scholarship programme is groundbreaking, it is innovative and it is a real demonstration of what the public and private sectors can do together to inspire our young people to take an interest in Birmingham's built environment and, through higher education, shape and change the landscape of our city.
“By offering coaching, mentoring and financial support through this programme, we will see a whole range of new housing and construction professionals emerge from the very estates we are aiming to improve through our house building programme.
“I would like to congratulate the scholars on their achievements in their first year and I'll look forward to helping our next intake of scholars this year.”
Further information about the Building Birmingham Scholarship is available by visiting www.birmingham.gov.uk/bbs.
Photographs of Sabila and Courtney can be downloaded from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed here.