By John Nielsen, Chair of the Construction Industry Council North East.
The Construction Industry Council (CICNE) and Constructing Excellence (CENE) held the finals last week, for the 2016 Sustainable Housing Scheme Wonder Challenge for school children in years 9 and 10 in the North East of England at the University of Northumbria.
The project involved a number of schools throughout the region, each of which has put forward a group of 13 and 14-year-old students who acted as a construction team, from conception to completion, for their project. Each team set up a company which will undertook the design and construction roles to build a sustainable housing scheme in their neighbourhood. The three finalists came from Nunthorpe Academy, St Anthony’s Catholic Girls Academy and Joseph Swan Academy.
This highly successful challenge has been running with CICNE and CENE involvement for five years. The winner this year was Joseph Swan Academy who had located a local site researching all infrastructure required, and developed student accommodation, family homes, community centre and local amenities. They had also progressed the project utilising inclusive design, sustainable materials and modular buildings.
The event was sponsored by NCBF (Northern Counties Builders Federation) whose representative Neil Ramsey presented cheques to each school and vouchers for all student participants.
Speaking after the event John Nielsen said: “Today went extremely well with each team showing an in depth understanding of what was required and excellent presentational skills. A big ‘well done to all’! The winners had involved ‘inclusive design’ within their project as this was a part of their recently completed school and they considered this a good thing for all. Construction industry note – design can really influence for the better!
We will be undertaking this challenge again next year but with more defined links to the school curriculum.’