Pupils at Thornaby Academy have been getting a unique insight into the construction industry thanks to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Barratt Homes who have held a series of workshops and activities at the school.
All year eight pupils have learnt about the building process from land purchase to the construction and completion of a development through fun and engaging activities.
They have also found out about how housing regeneration has not only brought much needed new housing to Stockton Borough but has also created hundreds of construction jobs and improvements to the local environment.
The project, which was organised by Barratt Homes’ graduates taking part in The Prince’s Trust Million Makers Scheme, saw the 12 and 13 year old pupils take part in a competition in which they had to design a new landscaped area for their school. They also had to come up with costings for the design and pitch their ideas to a panel made up Barratt Homes’ graduates and representatives from the Council.
Three teams were chosen as having the best designs and a professional landscape architect from PDP Associates Landscape Architects used elements from all three to come up with a final design. Pupils on the winning teams have now started planting up the area within Thornaby Academy’s grounds.
Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “We want to educate young people about the career options open to them and inspire a future generation to consider a career in the construction industry. We also wanted to show young people how regeneration can transform areas and brings jobs to the Borough.
“These sessions have really given the students a taste for what is involved and now they are transforming an area previously unused by the school into a smart landscaped garden.”
Mike Roberts, Managing Director at Barratt Homes North East, said: “It’s important that the construction industry is introduced to young people because we are facing a skills shortage challenge, with fewer people stepping forward to replace the current workforce as it begins to retire. It has been great informing pupils about the wide variety of jobs available, as well as the relevant training routes and we feel the pupils really got stuck in to the activities and learnt a lot.
“The Prince’s Trust Million Makers Scheme is an entrepreneurial fundraising challenge which sees teams of employees from companies across the UK compete to raise money for the charity. This was one of a few events carried out by our graduates which will see a donation in the region of £60,000 reach the charity.”
Principal of Thornaby Academy, Maryssa O’Connor, said: “Thornaby Academy is grateful to both Barratt and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for the opportunity to design and develop a new landscape in our grounds. Students have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and it has supported their employability skills.”
Other sponsors who supported the project at Thornaby Academy included Barratt North East Land Man Landscape Architects and Wearmouth Construction and Plant Ltd.