The College of West Anglia

The building industry is everywhere you go: housing, shopping centres, places of work, roads and bridges, hospitals and schools. From 'painting and decorating' plastered walls to installing 'plumbing', to the 'carpentry, joinery' and 'brickwork' that helped build them, there are a huge range of areas available in the building industry. There are careers in designing buildings, costing buildings, managing construction work and calculating their structures.

The college offers a huge range of courses to help you take your first steps into the industry, ranging from the hands-on trades through to technical aspects. Please select a subject area below to learn more and listen to what some of our students have to say about their courses.


Some of the best local architecture displays the high skill levels required of a bricklayer - just take a look at the buildings on the Crescent and North Brink in Wisbech and the Library in King’s Lynn. Today’s housing developments rely very heavily on the skills of a bricklayer. Skilled and experienced staff support the college’s full-time and apprenticeship routes which develop the talent required to be a successful craftsman in today’s construction industry.

Carpentry and Joinery

Have a look around the room you are in. Who put the door and skirting board on? Who put the staircase in? What about that fully fitted kitchen? These are all jobs that will have been completed by fully trained carpenters and joiners. The college has excellent facilities and experienced staff who provide professional training, skills and understanding to enable you to be successful in this vocation. Full-time and apprenticeship routes are available and there is a high demand for skilled carpenters in the job market.


Whilst we need skilled construction trades to actually construct our buildings, somebody has to design them, work out how much they will cost, ensure they are structurally safe and manage the construction process.

Painting and Decorating

Everybody takes great pride in their home and the finishing touches to any construction development are provided by a painter and decorator. Without decorators, our buildings would not be as pleasing and comfortable as we demand. Our courses provide you with the skills to transform rooms from shabby environments into the dream homes we all want to live in. Extensive workshop facilities and skilled staff will make sure you develop the skills required for today’s industry. Both full-time and apprenticeship routes are available.


Without skilled plumbers, our lives would be much less comfortable. Plumbing installations provide the facilities to keep us clean and warm. A plumber has the skills and knowledge to install and maintain essential domestic and industrial systems: bathrooms, boilers, air conditioning and now, more commonly, green 'renewable' technologies, such as air source heat pumps and solar panels. Our courses provide traditional plumbing skills, as well as those required for the new technologies. These industry-led courses have first class workshops and highly experienced staff who are continuously updated with the latest industry and technological developments.

Cameron Carr

Apprenticeship - Plumbing and Heating 2 Year Framework

During my first year of studying my Apprentice I have shown a desire to be the best that I can and achieving my qualification as quickly as I can.

Having a positive attitude whilst doing my apprentice has shown to my employer that I am committed to learn but has also enabled me to work in certain areas on my own due to the trust that me and my employer have.

Whilst doing my apprenticeship I entered the Regional WorldSkills UK and scooped gold in a national training programme. This Is an achievement I have gained whilst studying my Apprenticeship though CWA and ECOPLUMB. This is an accomplishment I am proud and thankful for.

Aaron Jones

Apprenticeship- Bricklaying

I decided to re-enter into education at a later stage in life. Making the first step was challenging enough as I was going back to education, however I was determined to better myself as well as my career.

I had a positive can-do attitude, which helped me to encourage myself and help other students along the way.

The college gave me the confidence to work independently on jobs that are low risk due to the respect and trust I had gained from my employer. This also meant that my employer had more free time to source further work, improving my skills at a faster pace. I was determined to complete this course sooner so that I could qualify with the help from my tutor and employer.

I have also gained a qualification in Level 2 English with the support of CWA, developing my education in other areas too. The course has also enabled me to improve my communication skills, communicating with other students, my tutor, as well as my employer, which is essential in every day working life.

Jack Goodrum

Level 3 Apprenticeship in Carpentry & Joinery
Apprentice of the Year 2018
World Skills Finalist 2018

“At college, I have learnt so many other skills that haven’t just revolved around carpentry. I have learnt how to be more adaptable to overcome many difficult challenges I have faced. Since then I have grown in confidence and gone from strength to strength within the workplace.”

Henry Acres

Apprenticeship in Carpentry & Joinery

Henry is completing an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery at the college alongside working at JT Ward Joinery, a manufacturer of bespoke joinery, including kitchens, bedrooms, staircases, windows and doors.

Henry joined the firm in mid-2017 as an apprentice and hasn’t looked back since. The company enrolled him on an NVQ Diploma at the college, where he has completed level 2 and is now progressing to a level 3 qualification.

In November 2018, Henry won the prestigious Apprentice of the Year award sponsored by the CITB at this year’s national British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Awards. The BWF Awards celebrate the best of the best in UK woodworking, recognising technical innovation, design, process efficiencies, health & safety and the rising stars of the industry.

Martin Ward, director of JT Ward, said: “We have been employing apprentices for over 14 years and we believe that Henry is one of the most conscientious and talented apprentices we’ve ever had the pleasure to employ. He has become a real asset to our company and we believe he is a rising star of the joinery industry.”

Henry said "I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone thinking about it, not only do you gain practical experience, but it provides an opportunity to earn while you learn. This has been the best way to establish myself within the trade and the qualification If recognised all over the world. When I finish my apprenticeship, I would like to continue on to higher education and complete a HNC."