HUNDREDS of students from Woodlands Community College in Harefield have benefited from a scheme designed to help prepare young people for the world of work.

Wates, the contractor behind the University of Southampton’s new Boldrewood Campus, is now half-way through its three-year ‘Business Class’ partnership with Woodlands Community College in Harefield, which has seen 32 volunteers donate 140 man hours to engage with 300 students from the school.

Activity has included regular mentoring initiatives and a series of careers events to enhance employability and introduce students to the career opportunities available within the construction industry.

Facilitated by business-led charity Business in the Community (BITC) the Business Class collaboration is designed to match schools with businesses to provide vocational work experience and raise career aspirations.

Gary Campbell-Dykes, business unit director for Wates Construction, Southern Home Counties and South West, said: “Our partnership with Woodlands Community College has gone from strength to strength and its success is demonstrative of the difference that can be made when business and education works together to support young people in their transition to the world of work.

“Supporting education and investing in the skills of the future workforce is the undoubted responsibility of the region’s businesses and the work done by Business in the Community and its Business Class programme is an extremely valuable means to fulfil this duty.”

Kevin Baker, assistant head teacher at Woodlands Community College, said: “The on-going support from Wates has been excellent. Wates are actively involved in our Year 11 student-mentoring programme. It gives our students a different perspective especially in terms of the expectations of ‘real world’ experiences.”

Wates Construction is currently developing the University of Southamp-ton’s Boldrewood Campus, which once complete will become home to a new institute for Marine and Maritime Research.