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Kenmay Academy finish as runners up in Build Your Future contest at Pittodrie

By Sean McAngus

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Kenmay Academy finished as runners up in in the Build Your Future school's construction challenge final which saw 100 S2 pupils flock to Aberdeen Football Club .

While Banchory Academy were crowned overall winners in the intense day of challenges and third place went to Ellon Academy.

Stewart Milne was in attendance across the day to share some of his own construction experiences with pupils and teachers, before going on to hand out the prizes.

The ‘Build Your Future’ challenge was launched by Grampian Construction Trainingand organised in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)in August 2019, inspired by a similar initiative that has been held in Edinburgh for the past 20 years.

The challenge was designed to highlight the full range of exciting, inspiring and rewarding career choices within the construction industry to pupils, parents and teachers.

During October and November last year, over 200 S2 pupils took part in a series of heats held at colleges, universities and construction companies in Aberdeen City and Shire, and the ten top scoring teams were invited to take part in the final day of construction-based challenges.

A range of local businesses were also behind the initiative, ensuring that all schools could take part in the challenge at no cost to themselves.

Halliday Fraser Munro were welcomed as main sponsor, with Stewart Milne Group, Glulam Solutions and K R Group also making the commitment to support the challenge in its first year.

Teams from Meldrum Academy, Lochside Academy, Harlaw Academy, Mintlaw Academy, Ellon Academy, Turriff Academy, Kemnay Academy and Westhill Academy made their way to Pittodrie Stadium, to take part in ten tasks, with one school being crowned the winner at the end of the day.

Professionals from across the industry came together to create a series of tasks designed to inspire pupils, and highlight what a dynamic, exciting and rewarding career choice construction can be. Tasks included spotting health and safety hazards on a staged building site, a task encouraging teams to think about the environmental impact of construction, and a role play task set in a court room to settle a legal dispute between contractors.

Chair of Grampian Construction Training Jim Buchan said: “We are absolutely delighted at how well the first Build Your Future challenge has been received by the schools, colleges, universities and businesses of the North East. To have over 200 pupils take part in the first year is exceptional, and we are grateful to every secondary school who signed up.

"However, our aim is to ensure that all secondary schools in the North East enter a team in 2020/21, which would mean over 300 S2 pupils taking part, and we already well on with the plans for next year’s competition."

Managing Director David Halliday of Halliday Fraser Munro said: “We were absolutely thrilled to be the main sponsor for this event and the highlight for us was being able to see first-hand just how enjoyable the experience was for pupils.

"It allowed them to gain a real understanding of the challenges those working in the construction sector face, while also developing key skills in communication, teamwork and problem solving.

“As architects, we know and appreciate the critical role that the construction industry plays in bringing to life our projects that benefit individuals, the community and the economy.

"Without them, our ideas would remain just that – ideas on paper.

"We believe we demonstrated that construction is a highly skilled, rewarding profession with lots of opportunities – and hope that we may well see some of these pupils on our building projects in the future.”

Technical Teacher from winning team Banchory Academy, Laura Will said "The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the Build Your Future event.

"It was a fantastic opportunity for them to experience the variety of professions within the construction industry.

"From building a steel frame, sustainability considerations, structures to transport water, electronics, construction law and quantity and quality costing."

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