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Transformation of Ferndale site in the spotlight

The process of transforming a former Chubb factory site in Ferndale into a sustainable, high-quality school has proven a rock-solid endeavour for one graduate student.

Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction invited Cardiff University’s Hannah Okposio to the scheme to examine the development as part of her wider work experience with engineering firm Curtins.

Hannah, who is studying for a Master’s degree in Applied Environmental Geology, spent time with Curtins as part of a two-week placement reviewing projects in the region, including Wynne’s Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn-Y-Forwyn.

The 270-capacity Welsh medium school is the first partnership between Wynne and the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council education team, and in recent weeks the construction firm has been focusing on the long-term sustainability of the site.

Curtins has assisted in this process, helping identify areas for key environmental information such as soil quality to safeguard the new school and ensure the redevelopment meets high standards and respects the surrounding environment.

During her time on site, Hannah got the opportunity to gather crucial data which will help highlight environmental challenges as well as provide a strong backdrop for her dissertation as part of her studies.

Hannah said: “The hands-on experience I gained during my work placement with Curtins and Wynne Construction has been priceless. While it’s one thing to learn theory, to see practical applications in a live project is an entirely new process.

“The support and mentorship I received from the teams involved has been phenomenal, and I am truly grateful to them for believing in me and providing this exceptional opportunity to further develop my skills.”

Andy Garner, pre-construction director at Wynne Construction, said: “Balancing progress with environmental preservation and transformation is key for any build we embark on, and the Ferndale scheme represents a delicate balance between revitalising the site and safeguarding the location long-term.

“It has been fantastic to help the continued advancement of the industry with work placement opportunities such as Hannah’s as well as work collaboratively with Curtins and our other supply chain partners to shape the next generation.”

Dean Saxton, Business Unit Director from Curtins said: “Bringing Hannah on board for this work experience placement has been a rewarding involvement for the entire team. She has approached sustainable construction and engineering with passion and dedication and has been an asset to our team. She no doubt has a bright future ahead of her in the industry and will be an inspiration to many of her peers.

“We’re proud to encourage professional development and work with Wynne Construction due to its passion for strong environmental outcomes which aligns perfectly with our vision of building a better future.”

Wynne Construction operates throughout Wales and the North West of England, and regularly leads on projects in sectors including education, social housing, healthcare, and sport and leisure.

The company is also on the North Wales Construction Partnership (NWCP), Pagabo’s Medium Works Framework, the South-East and mid-Wales Collaborative Construction Framework (SEWSCAP3) and the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework (SSWRCF).