Matt Birch (centre) with Geoff Layer (Wolverhampton University, left) and Duncan Rudall (Institute o

Matt Birch (centre) with Geoff Layer (Wolverhampton University, left) and Duncan Rudall (Institute of Demolition Engineers) when the degree course was formally announced

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

The Institute of Demolition Engineers (IDE) has signed 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 Master of Science Demolition and Restoration Management in the Built Environment degree.

The sector, which works on more than £8 billion (US$10 billion) 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 IDE president Duncan Rudall.

“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.

“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 its passion and understanding of our sector by agreeing to work with us to shape the content and delivery of the courses.”

Demolition experts 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 deliver the demolition specific elements of the degree.

This will be reinforced by experienced lecturers at the University of Wolverhampton, led by 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 course, which will be officially launched in September 2017.

Wolverhampton-born Matt Birch, a trainee demolition engineer at C&D Consultancy, was one of the first.

He said: “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.”

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