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from l-r: Dr Paul Hampton (Head of Department, School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton), Duncan Rudall (President of the IDE), Professor Geoff Layer (Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton) and Anthony Hatfield (Senior Lecturer in Built Environment)

An agreement has been reached that will see the UK’s first ever degree course for demolition launched next year.

The Institute for Demolition Engineers (IDE) used its Autumn Seminar to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Wolverhampton that will see bespoke courses developed to give more than 100 people every year the chance to study for a Bachelor of Science or Masters of Science Demolition and Restoration Management in the Built Environment degree.

The sector, which works on more than £8bn of projects ever year, will use the qualifications to attract more young people into the industry, as well as ensuring current demolition engineers have access to the best possible professional development opportunities.

The curriculum will be taught on site and at the University’s new Springfield Campus and will comprise of up to 15 different modules, ranging from asbestos removal and façade retention to working with explosives and health and safety.

“Demolition has been the poor relation to construction and civil engineering for some time and this has got to change,” explained Duncan Rudall FIDE, President of the IDE.

“We want to give people working in our sector the same opportunity as other industries to be officially recognised for their skills and expertise and the Demolition Degree is the first step in this direction.”

He continued: “It is also an important milestone in trying to get more young people interested in pursuing a career with us. We have no problem attracting labourers and operatives, which is great. However, we want youngsters looking to become chartered demolition engineers, senior managers and the leaders of the future.

“There isn’t anything like this currently in the UK and the University of Wolverhampton has shown their passion and understanding of our sector by agreeing to work with us to shape the content and delivery of the courses.”

Demolition experts Dr Terry Quarmby (Dorton Group), Mick Ulyatt (Samuelson Consulting), John Woodward (C&D Consultancy), Vernon Watson (QCMS) and Richard Dolman (AR Demolition) have all been involved in the initial planning, with industry trainers set to be involved in delivering the demolition specific elements of the degree.

This will be reinforced by experienced lecturers at the University of Wolverhampton, led by Dr Paul Hampton, Head of Department at the School of Architecture and Built Environment.

So far more than 20 people have signed up for the degree courses, which will be officially launched in September 2017.

Wolverhampton-born Matt Birch, a trainee Demolition Engineer at C&D Consultancy, is one of the first individuals to sign up for the new Demolition Degree.

“This is such an exciting breakthrough for our sector and gives me the ideal opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge even further, not to mention the chance to secure a national qualification in the process.

“I first thought about demolition as a career when John Woodward, MD of C&D, visited our school and talked to us about what was involved. Every day is different and that immediately captured my imagination and I’m already learning that there are lots of technical aspects you have to learn. This degree is the icing on the cake.

“I am also really proud that my home city University is leading the world with offering this qualification.”

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from l-r: Duncan Rudall (President of the IDE), Matt Birch (C&D Consultancy) and Professor Geoff Layer (Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton)

Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, added his support: “We have a proud track record of working in the field of construction and already have embedded certain elements of the demolition sector into our courses.

“The new site will provide a collaborative research environment, working closely with business and partners like IDE to offer cutting-edge facilities equipped with the latest technologies to provide innovative teaching – like the new Demolition degree – across a lifelong learning ladder of opportunities.”

Duncan concluded: “The University of Wolverhampton is investing all the time and this is none more evident than in the regeneration of the Springfield Brewery site in Wolverhampton to create a centre of excellence for construction. The facilities will be world class and students on the demolition degree will have access to them.”

Boasting more than 400 members, the IDE exists to promote and foster the science of demolition engineering.

This includes promotion of more efficient techniques in the industry, encourage safer methods of working and the provision of a qualifying body for the industry.

The Autumn Seminar, held in London, attracted its largest ever audience with 196 professionals attending.

For further information, please visit www.ide.org.uk or follow @idepresident on twitter. More details on the University of Wolverhampton can be found at www.wlv.ac.uk

Author: Russ Cockburn is Director of Cucumber PR, a full service communications agency based in Shropshire

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers.