26 April 2011
Construction students from West Thames College’s Skills Centre in Feltham stepped out of the workshop and onto a live building site during the Spring term. They worked against the clock to help transform a disused shop in Brentford High Street into The Docking Station Café – a state-of-the-art gaming café equipped with the latest consoles including Xbox Kinect and Sony PlayStation 3 consoles.
Around 35 carpentry, plumbing and painting and decorating students worked on the project, ensuring the café was completed in time for its official launch event. The Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Colin Ellar formerly opened the venue on Friday 11 March.
Ross Park, Construction Lecturer and Curriculum Team Manager at the college’s Feltham Skills Centre, praised those involved. “The Docking Station project has been a great opportunity for our construction students to display their skills in a real working environment. Every one of them behaved professionally and the areas of the café on which they worked were finished to the high standards expected in their respective trades.”
As well as assisting with the building work, West Thames College also trained nine apprentices in first aid, food hygiene and catering at the Skills Centre. The apprentices are now successfully running The Docking Station and will continue their technical training at Thames Valley University.
Carpentry & Joinery students helped to source materials from suppliers, they sawed the timber and installed partition walls for the kitchen and upstairs offices of the café. They also worked on the second fix, including door liners, architraves and skirting boards.
Paul McMaster – Carpentry & Joinery student
“The Docking Station was a great opportunity and, for most of the group, it was the first time we’d been on site working on a real job. Using the skills we’d been taught in a practical environment and seeing the results was fantastic. I learned a huge amount from the work we did there. It was a great taste of what to expect when we become professionals.”
As well as preparing the ground floor for painting by volunteers, our Painting & Decorating students prepared and finished the first floor of the building – a key part of The Docking Station project, as it offers workspace for small businesses and charities. Work included removing damp and broken glass, re-puttying windows, plaster-boarding and painting.
Chloe Staddon – Painting & Decorating student
“When we saw the condition of the first floor it was cold, damp and in real need of repair. The whole team worked hard preparing it for painting, removing the mould and resurfacing the walls. The end result is something to be proud of and the site experience has been brilliant.”
Plumbing student Natalie Ballard worked alongside the carpentry students: disconnecting the water supply, moving pipe work to allow a partition wall to be erected, and helping to ensure the water supply to the newly built kitchen flowed correctly.
Natalie Ballard - Plumbing student
“It was really interesting to be involved in a project from the very beginning and working alongside the other trades was a great experience. I went past The Docking Station on the bus recently and when I saw it I thought, ‘I helped to create that!’ I’m really proud of what we achieved.”
Making Waves Spring 2013 - Our termly student magazine.