FRENCH brickies have been building on the foundations of a magnifique partnership between two colleges.
Eighteen bricklaying students from Albi, in France, have spent the last three weeks in town on an exchange programme with Hartlepool College of Further Education.
The students, who are aged between 17 and 21 and from a training centre called Les Compagnon du de Voir, have been learning English tricks of the trade.
As well as working on classroom-based theory and in brickwork workshops at the Stockton Street-based college, they have also been out on placements with companies, including Yuill Homes, Vela, IES Instrumental Electrical Services, Hartlepool Borough Council and Jomast.
This is the third time students from Les Compagnon du de Voir have been on an exchange programme with the college in as many years.
Eight Hartlepool students are set to travel to Albi for a similar scheme on April 22.
During the French students’ stay, the college even flew tricolour flags outside its new £53m campus to make them feel at home.
Brian Hanson, Hartlepool College of Further Education’s work-based assessor, said: “The students looked at construction from a different point of view.
“We do it far different from what the French do.
“They are very much blockwork-orientated and rendering, while ours is general cavity walling.
“The majority of them have liked working on site and the companies say they have been absolutely brilliant.
“They have loved having them there and it’s been an experience for their own workers. It’s been very beneficial to everybody.”
As well as working hard, the French students, who leave tomorrow, have also been treated to fun leisure activities at local attractions.
These included a trip to watch Hartlepool United play MK Dons last Saturday, a York visit, a tour of Newcastle United’s stadium, a Newcastle Falcons rugby game and a trip to UK Superbowl, in Hartlepool.