A group of college students have laid down the foundations for a career in the building sector after winning a prestigious competition.
Six full-time BTEC Level 3 students from Hartlepool College of Further Education, doing a diploma in Construction & Built Environment, entered a day-long competition run by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) which was held at Darlington College.
The host college entered two teams, as did Middlesbrough College, while there was also a team from Sunderland College to provide some tough competition for the Hartlepool team.
But it was the students from Hartlepool who came out on top, impressing the judging panel to walk away with the top prize which gives them a chance of a work placement with a view to claiming an apprenticeship role with building firm Clugston Construction.
The competition saw the teams working on a site plan from a Clugston Construction project in Barnard Castle, and being asked to identify potential problems with the site before putting forward solutions.
Dave Appleton, who runs the course for Hartlepool College of Further Education, was delighted to see his team crowned as the winners.
Dave said: “It was a tough competition, and the fact that the other teams included students who had gained experience through apprentice roles on sites in the past made it even more impressive.
“Each team had a mentor with them throughout the day who they could ask questions to, but they all worked superbly both as a team and individually.
“I am extremely proud of them, and as part of the prize they now have the opportunity to get some hands-on experience through a work placement and that could lead to an apprenticeship.”
The Hartlepool College team was made up of Abbie Jackson, Kieran Evans, Katie Bradley, Adam Fairbrother, Andrew Smales and Connor Mitchell, all a mixture of first and second year students aged between 17-21.
Phill Beaumont, senior vice chair for the North East branch of the CIOB, said: “Each of the colleges put on an excellent presentations, and they all did extremely well throughout the whole day.
“All of the students will be leaders and professionals in the built environment, and if this is the future of our industry then we are in safe hands.”
The college is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in the North East and has apprenticeship success rates well above the national average.
Hartlepool College has almost 500 16-18-year-old apprentices working with a multitude of employers across the region each of which are convinced that engaging apprentices is the way forward to develop their business.