Building Up the Next Generation of Construction Professionals as Former Student Returns to College to Inspire

A CONTRACTS manager is helping students build a brighter future by returning to his old college to inspire the next generation of tradesmen.

Chris Millington began his own journey at the old site of Darlington College in Cleveland Avenue in 2003 and then helped build the new site in Haughton Road.

The former Longfield School student, of Darlington, decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, who himself studied joinery at the college.

“My parents wanted me to get a trade and in my final year I was working for Shepherd Construction who were building the new college,” said Chris, now 34.

“It’s a very small industry and relationships last. One of the college tutors taught my dad and my tutor Lisa Bowerbank put me in touch with Taylor Wimpey where I secured a traineeship. I then got a job with house builder Keepmoat, who have built homes on the same site as the college, then as a contracts manager with Gentoo Homes and Hardwick Homes.

“I absolutely love it and have just started back with Keepmoat where the construction director is actually my old college tutor from when I was a joinery apprentice at the old college.”

Chris, who secured a Building Studies HNC, returned to college to deliver several masterclasses, inspiring students and giving them an insight into the potential opportunities within the construction industry.

“It is such a great trade to be involved in,” he said. “The college was a great starting point and I owe the staff a lot. I have worked on hospitals, large commercial buildings, colleges and demand for houses has never been higher.

“We are seeing massive change because of the availability of materials and new eco building regulations. Modern methods involve using timber frames, structural insulated panels, concrete insulation and prefabricated modular construction, which speeds up the whole process and helps homes be more efficient around heat retention. It is in our best interests to modernise and it is up to us all to deliver as an industry.”

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