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Open Doors: opening young minds at Balfour Beatty academy

Flinging open the doors to a £25 million academy in North London has “opened the minds” of teenagers looking for careers in construction.

Balfour Beatty’s Oasis Academy, Enfield, will be the fastest academy build in the county when it is completed in just 53 weeks, according to project manager Steve Penwill.

Mr Penwill fielded questions from an enthusiastic group of 14-16 year olds, studying construction at Bishops Douglass School, in Finchley, north London.

Kelly-Anne Sanders, 15, said she was fascinated by the design side to the building and was impressed at the speed of the build.

She said: “I thought it would take more than a year – there are a lot of things to do.”

Saeed Brown, 14 and Chris Orija, 14, said they liked the design of the school and also learned the different roles people have on a project.

Chris added: “It’s opened my mind to the different work I can do - and helped to see what jobs [are available].”

The three-storey bespoke Primary and Secondary Academy School for 1,900 children is being built on a remediated former gas works site in Ponders End.

The contractor has taken a hybrid construction approach, with part of the build on site and half of it done off site through a standardised or modular approach.

Local MP Andy Love was also on the visit, where he said the school is part of a wider investment in the local area.

Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Client: Oasis Community Learning
Price: £25m
Start date: November 2011
Expected finish date: December 2012
Location: Enfield, London


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