Duke of York gives west Norfolk’s national contruction college campus the Royal seal of approval

PUBLISHED: 09:26 23 June 2015 | UPDATED: 09:26 23 June 2015

The Duke of York signed the visitors' book before leaving the Construction College in Bircham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Duke of York signed the visitors' book before leaving the Construction College in Bircham. Picture: Ian Burt


A college in west Norfolk that offers specialist training for the construction industry gained the royal seal of approval from the Duke of York, who spent about two hours looking around the site and speaking to students on a whistle-stop tour today.

The Duke, whose portfolio includes working to encourage economic growth and supporting the creation of skilled jobs, shared a joke with students at the National Construction College’s west Norfolk campus in Bircham Newton and later signed the visitors’ book.

“I’m really excited about what you are trying to deliver here, and I’m delighted to be here,” he said.

Earlier he joked with students that they could not have foreseen that some of their best-laid construction plans would be messed up by a visit from a member of the Royal Family.

The duke arrived on site by helicopter and visited the Constructionarium where he met students working on project teams to build scaled down versions of the Ravenspurn Oil Rig and the Kingsgate Bridge in Durham.

He watched students train with the latest power tools under the guidance of steel fixing instructor Jody Loram, and sat in on a group presenting their project to a contractor from Morgan Sindall.

Student Elizabeth Maidment, 20, from the University of Birmingham, who is training to be a civil engineer and is spending a week at the college, said she was “excited, but a bit nervous” about the visit.

Adrian Belton, chief executive of CITB - the Construction Industry Training Board - said the visit had helped to raise the profile of the construction industry, which was facing a skills gap.

He said: “I asked him to help sell the attractiveness of a career in the industry. He seemed very interested.”

The Constructionarium is a not for profit organisation and a separate organisation to the CITB, but its facilities are based within the grounds of the National Construction College.

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