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Scholars get the construction bug

PEOPLE

ST JOHN'S RC Comprehensive School in Bishop Auckland is the winner of an innovative competition designed to give students the chance to learn more about careers in the construction industry.

The St John's team, led by teacher George Adair, picked up the prestigious Enterprise In Construction Challenge title after presenting their proposal for redevelopment of the Blue Circle Cement Works in the Wear Valley into a high-quality holiday park.

They beat teams from four other schools to the £500 top prize and also received a trophy that they keep for a year.

The competition is a joint venture between the Construction Industry Training Board and north-east construction company M&M Plasline.

CITB chairman Sir Michael Latham said: 'I fully support M&M Plasline in its creation of the challenge, which introduces the world of 21st century construction. It gives the students practical experience and provides them with an opportunity to work as a team.'

Each team member took on a specific role within their 'company', spanning a range of careers including surveyor, engineer and joiner.

M&M Plasline managing director Michael O'Connell said: 'The ongoing need for skilled young people is an issue that the whole construction industry is facing - and if you always do what you've always done, you will only ever get what you've always got.

'The Enterprise in Construction Challenge is our way of helping to address this issue, and of highlighting the large number of interesting and rewarding careers our industry has to offer.'

Local MP Derek Foster gave out the prizes at a presentation ceremony. He said: 'The demand for skilled construction workers has never been greater in the north-east and there is no better time to be launching a career in construction.'