Students make cross-Channel connections

The Northern Echo: Erimus plumber Michael Robinson (from left) shows French students Rachad Boina, Dylan Pires and Lorison Baroux an air source heat pump Erimus plumber Michael Robinson (from left) shows French students Rachad Boina, Dylan Pires and Lorison Baroux an air source heat pump

A PARTY of French students put their skills to the test when they worked at Teesside businesses during an exchange trip with Redcar and Cleveland College.

The group of seven students from Vichy in France took part in two-week work placements at Erimus Housing in Middlesbrough and Vela in Stockton as part of their studies in electrical and industrial maintenance.

They spent two weeks on Teesside gaining valuable work experience in order to boost their language skills relating to their studies, and took part in a number of activities at the college and also enjoyed trips to London, Whitby, York and the National Skills Show at the Birmingham NEC.

The visit took place as part of a Comenius European exchange programme. Students from Redcar & Cleveland College will travel to Vichy in the spring, when they will be placed with French companies and given an opportunity to expand their skills.

Tutors at Redcar and Cleveland College have been involved in an exchange programme with tutors from Albert Londres College in Vichy for two years, but this was the first time the exchange programme had involved students.

Tutor Chris Robson said: “We are seeing more and more European workers travelling to different countries to work. It is a large and necessary part of European students’ courses to travel throughout Europe, so it’s important they have the language skills necessary to aid them.

“The students from France have come here to learn the vocabulary we use in the trade and also to experience how we work. I think it’s been a great learning experience for them and they have enjoyed it.

“We hope, as a college, to take part in future projects involving student exchanges to give our students the opportunity to experience working life in other EU countries. Hopefully, our students will find it just as useful when we go to France in March.”

Student Louison Baroux, 17, said: “The trip has been great because we have learned a lot. The electricity system is different here to back home – the layout is different – so it’s been good for us to learn about it. We have really enjoyed the work placements.”

Stuart Poulter, customer liaison officer at Erimus, said the students had been involved in the refurbishing of houses in the Union Street area of Middlesbrough, including the fitting of air source heat pumps.

He said: “We work with Redcar & Cleveland College a lot and were very happy to offer work placements to the exchange students. They have been involved in different aspects of our work, but it has all been relevant to their studies, so hopefully it’s been helpful.”

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