11 to 14 year olds from the North East educated in exciting new technologies for the construction sector
Last week in Newcastle, local school children aged 11 to 14 were given a taste of what it’s like to have a career in the construction industry working with new and emerging technologies. The learning day, hosted by design firm Space Group and Gateshead College, aimed to educate young children in careers available to them when they leave school and, importantly, help address the technological skills shortage in the construction sector.
Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group and the person behind the Inspiration day, said: “We have found that there is little understanding amongst young people of what opportunities are available within the built environment professions other than the typical out-door builder roles, and as such few school children are aspiring to follow to a career in this important sector of the British and global economy. Which is why we set up the Inspiration Day, to work with schools in educating future construction professionals and change the lives of young people.
“Thanks to the extraordinary support of industry leaders, professional bodies and progressive education, in the North East, we have delivered an inspiring programme that shows young people what construction is really like, it’s fun and exciting, and uses only the very best technology has to offer today.”
Seven schools from across the region engaged in exercises in architecture, engineering, virtual reality, robotics and 3D modelling. delivered by Autodesk, FARO, Gateshead College, Northumbria University, NBS and the George Clarke charity MOBIE.
Jen Brown, a teaching assistant from Monkseaton Middle School said: “We selected children from years 7 and 8 who are studying STEM courses in school and who have already identified they are interested in construction when they leave school, they just lack clarity on what is exactly available to them. It’s days like today that make it very clear that technology is front and centre of the way we build and that is what interests the children most.”
Autodesk began its session with the school children by asking them to build houses from Lego; they then partnered with Northumbria University, using their own BIM 360 software, to scan the Lego houses, creating 3D models which they could then manipulate on the iPads provided.
Martin McHugh, head of department for design and technology at Washington Academy said at the event: “All of the pupils we have brought today are studying Level 1 and 2 Design in the Built Environment, an architecture based vocational course. The children have a keen interest in architecture and the exercises today on house building have been the perfect choice in sparking their imagination. Many of the children understand the concept of architecture but not the technologies behind it.”
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