Students at Northampton College are playing their part in a new 700-home development in Overstone, gaining vital experience of life on a 21st century building site.

The huge new estate is being constructed by a consortium of housebuilders, with Finedon-based Carmac responsible for the enabling works, main infrastructure requirements and all associated civil engineering.

Two construction students from Northampton College have become part of Carmac’s on-site team as part of an industry placement scheme, giving them an invaluable insight into the reality of the modern workplace.

Neil Oram, senior manager at Carmac, said: “As a company we have seen the benefits of bringing through apprentices and trainees, moulding them into the employees you need with the skills you rely on. We’ve had success with that model and we wanted to give something back.

“It’s important we get a new generation into construction. It’s an extremely varied industry with a wide range of different job roles and it’s changing all the time with new technologies coming on board.

“We’ve recently introduced GPS systems onto some of our diggers which is revolutionising the way we work. This will become second nature to a new generation of employees but for those who have been with us for 25 years it’s obviously a very different way of doing things.

“We’re giving Northampton College students the chance to see at first hand the way we work and they will be given a flavour of all the different job roles we have on site, from surveying and engineering to health and safety.

“It’s been very positive so far and the students say they are enjoying the opportunity to apply some of their learning in a real-world environment.”

The industry placements were agreed following a visit from Carmac representatives to the college’s Advanced Construction Engineering Centre at Booth Lane, where they spoke to students about their course and what the company offers.

Carmac was formed in 1984 and has grown to become an established and respected groundworks and civil engineering contractor with an annual turnover of £40million and a client base of major house builders, developers and main contractors.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “Building strong links with key local employers is vital as we continue to provide a pipeline of workplace-ready students who can step into job roles and make a difference from day one.