Tutor blog: Hannah Stansfield | Construction and the Built Environment

A construction student looks through an automatic level, straight down the camera.

Hannah Stansfield, Senior Lecturer in Construction at UCEN Manchester, writes about the department's unique offer and valuable industry links.

As a Senior Lecturer on the UCEN Manchester Construction and Built Environment programmes, I am often asked what we do differently from other Higher Education Institutions.

In answering this question, I will refer to some of the frequent comments made by our existing learners and alumni.

Provide a supportive and encouraging environment

At UCEN Manchester, your tutor will know you by name. Our class sizes are small enough for us to get to know you, but big enough for you to meet new friends. Past students have contacted us to communicate their disappointment at how little support they have received at their new Higher Education institutions; with such large class sizes they felt like a number as opposed to a name. 
Our learners are at an advantage from day one of enrolling on our programme, as they benefit greatly from the extensive professional, academic and supportive team. Learners also enjoy outstanding support provided by our FutureU team who offer services ranging from careers advice to counselling, and more. 

We ensure our students are prepared for the industry

We ensure industry professionals are involved in shaping our curriculum to provide our learners with more opportunities and exposure to industry led talks, site visits and being involved in future industry developments.

To quote one learner after a recent industry site visit to the ‘Co-op Live Project’: ‘’It was a privilege to hear from and speak with the professionals involved in the designing and building of such a large project. To see the progress from design to build so far brings the classroom theory to life. This was a great opportunity!"

At UCEN Manchester, we aim to provide an industry informed curriculum offer and we are focused on achieving the long-term vision for the future developments in the built environment using our industry partners to shape our offer.

That means our students graduate with the most relevant, up-to-date skills needed to hit the ground running when they start their careers.

Gaining skills for an industry where they are in demand

Something that I think is really unique about us is that we align our offer we sectors that have high demands for skills and make sure we equip learners with the professional skills they will need to excel in a future career.

As an example, the Construction and Built Environment sector is one that is growing exponentially, and an industry which is continually advancing. Construction is a major sector of the UK economy, generating almost £90billion annually. 

The Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) report, The Real Face of Construction 2020, found that the construction industry accounts for around 6% of the UK’s total economic output and provides jobs for 2.93 million people – about 10 % of the UK total. 

Many construction workers are retiring, and the rate of retirement looks set to increase as 22% of the workforce are over 50, and 15% are in their 60s. With an ageing workforce, demand for skilled construction professionals continues to grow. 

As a curriculum area we have developed and grown year-on-year in welcoming new students on the programme. We are excited to be offering two of the new higher technical qualifications pathways in  2023; Construction Management and Modern Method of Construction in September 2023.