North East business beacons show schools inspiring new technologies
North East leading design firm, Space Group teamed up with Gateshead College to host a day of inspired learning for local schools on Tuesday 26 February at Newcastle’s the Boiler Shop.
The day was designed to offer children from the ages of 11 to 14 years a taste of what it’s like to have a career in some of the UK’s top organisations which develop new and emerging technologies within the construction industry.
There is a clear skills shortage in the construction industry when it comes to advanced technological expertise and it is essential young children are educated in the careers available to them when they leave school which will allow them to grow their interest in the digital world and secure the continual digitisation of the built environment.
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.”
Global software developer 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. This showed the children the capabilities that exist within construction, that design software has virtually no limitations.
James Austin, Construction Industry Strategist from Autodesk said: “It was fantastic to see such enthusiasm in all the sessions, and we had an extremely eager set of young students, who took a fresh look at technology and construction.
“For Autodesk, it makes us proud to help inspire young people and showcase what a rewarding career choice construction can be.”
Events such as the Inspiration Day are taking steps in making a positive change, eliminating any negative perceptions of the industry which could turn potential talent away.
Martin McHugh, Head of Department for Design and Technology at Washington Academy said: “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.
“To have such an opportunity on our doorstep is not only enriching for the children, but it assures them that jobs in this field are indeed available to them in the North East when they leave school.”