Students have been given a special preview of Hemel Hempstead's new council, library and voluntary services hub, The Forum, which opens for business in the new year.
Cavendish School in Hemel Hempstead and West Herts College's Dacorum Campus selected young people interested in careers in construction for the behind-the-scenes tour on Wednesday (30 November).
The building - which is part of our Hemel Evolution regeneration programme - is being constructed by R G Carter. Senior Project Manager David Fenwick showed his prospective young colleagues around and explained all about the different professions involved in creating the building.
He explained: "It's a real pleasure to see young people thinking about their futures and to share the knowledge and experience I've gained over the years working on projects like this. The Forum will be a new cornerstone of Hemel Hempstead town centre, and it's rewarding to think that it may also be a cornerstone in their careers."
Philippa Shaw, Head of Careers at Cavendish School, accompanied her students: "Our visit to the Forum has been fascinating, firstly to see inside of this beautiful and iconic building, which we have watched taking shape in our town centre, and also to learn about the vast range of professions, trades and skills required to complete the project. The young people were impressed with the excellent design and quality of the interior, the overall sense of light and space and many other details, particularly the technological features. They came away inspired to find out more about possible careers in the built environment."
Sue Hill, Head of Student Employability and Progression at West Herts College, added: "Young people really benefit from accessing the world of work. It is difficult to obtain high quality and meaningful work experience, which helps them develop their employability skills and recognise the behaviours and core competencies that are required in the workplace. Accessibility to the Forum site with the council and R G Carter brings tangible benefits for West Herts College students - particularly around building their confidence and promoting social mobility - through active engagement in the working world.”
Our Customer Services Unit and Hemel Hempstead Library will be open as usual in the Civic Centre until Friday 13 January and, together with Hertfordshire Registration and Citizenship Service, will reopen in the new building on the corner of Combe Street and Marlowes on Monday 16 January.
The 75,000 square foot energy-efficient building will save Dacorum’s taxpayers around £300,000 annually in running costs, as well as ruling out the need for a projected multi-million refurbishment of the out-dated 1960s Civic Centre and its substantial ongoing upkeep.
Surrounded by a new modern apartment complex, The Forum will also revitalise the Gade Zone area of Hemel Hempstead town centre as part of our Hemel Evolution regeneration programme.