PICTURE CAPTION: From left to right - Steve Turner (Deeley Construction), David Lisowski (Riverbank Academy), Jamie Farndon, Martin Gallagher (Deeley Construction), Steve Adams (Deeley Construction), Ryan Ilsley and Marie Manusell-Stewart.

Work experience students at a SEN school in Coventry have helped a Midlands contractor and developer to complete a major extension to their school.

Five students from Riverbank Academy joined contractors Deeley Construction, headquartered in Coventry, on-site as work neared completion of a new state-of-the-art teaching block to help the school cater for growing demand for its services.

Ryley Ilsley, Mason Bennett, Jamie Farndon, Filip Liviu Niculae and Opoku Gyamfi were all given an insight into working in the construction industry during work experience at the project.

The new building will feature three new classrooms, three bespoke outdoor soft play areas, two hygiene suites, an internal soft play area and the school’s first ever purpose-built fitness suite.

Students in the 16 plus programme at Riverbank Academy are given opportunities to explore potential career paths so they have a good idea of the profession they would like to work in when leaving the school.

Ryley Ilsley, aged 17 from Radford, said: “My experience on site was really good. Construction is definitely something that interests me and could be an option I consider for the future.

“I enjoyed visiting the site and learning about the finances and costs involved in a project like this. It will help the school a lot to have a building like this and it was great to be involved in the project.”

Jamie Farndon, aged 18 from Longford, said: “It was interesting to look around the building as it was being built and follow the work.

“While construction isn’t something I necessarily want to work in I took the opportunity to learn about marketing and everything else that surrounds a development and it was exciting to be involved.”

David Lisowski, Head Teacher at Riverbank Academy, said: “We pride ourselves on adding value where we can for our students, such as building independence and introducing our students to employment opportunities in preparation for leaving us.

“Deeley Construction has been very accommodating and proactive in offering us both on-site and virtual work experience opportunities for students.

“As a school we are now at more than 180 students and continue to grow to meet local and national demands for SEN school places. We approached Coventry City Council and they provided us with the funding to build this fantastic new building.

“It will benefit all staff and students at the school, providing more space for our existing educational provision and giving us further scope to enhance and expand our curriculum.”

Work is nearing completion on the new teaching block for Riverbank Academy and students and staff will be moving in from October.

Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, added: “We are always looking wherever we can to give young people a window into what it is like to work in our industry and developing the next generation of construction professionals.

“The students were a pleasure to have on-site and it was great for them to be able play a small part in the building of the new teaching block for their school.”