College students building full size eco-home on campus

Some of the students who are building the home
Some of the students who are building the home

CONSTRUCTION students at Sussex Coast College Hastings are being given hands on training in eco-friendly construction - by building an entire house during lessons.

As part of a European-funded project the college has teamed up with school in Normandy, France, to build a full-size eco-home inside its Ore campus.

The idea behind the scheme is that as the students develop new expertise they can put them into practice on the building.

And the first stage got underway during a visit from a group of French students and their teachers, who as well as putting what they already knew into action, picked up some new tips more commonly used in the UK.

Mark Jackson, one of the lecturers at Sussex Coast College Hastings said the site was lucky to have ‘such a brilliant facility’.

He told the Observer: “It makes lessons so much easier and interesting than just using models and diagrams. It completely brings lessons to life and is a unique tool.

“We don’t know of any other places locally which have anything like this so it gives our students an added advantage. They will all leave here having learnt sustainable techniques and tried them out for real.”

The home is part of a two-and-a-half year project and is going to be built in stages to coincide with students learning new skills. For example, later this year, once the theory has been covered, construction classes will add a second floor to the building.

And pupils on other vocational course like how to be an electrician will also be let loose on the home.

When finished the house will measure around 100 square metres and have been worked on by dozens of students.

Local businesses are also being invited to take part and the first to do so, Kent-based H+H, was more than happy to supply specialist energy-efficient building blocks.

Jenny Smith-Andrews, spokesman for the firm, said: “This is an exciting project to be involved in, as it’s a great learning tool for future construction industry workers.”