TyneMet students about to embark on ambitious North East construction project have joined forces with other students from Newcastle University and Newcastle College to undertake essential training in site safety and team-working, ahead of the Constructionarium North East pilot.

They undertook Health and Safety training consisting of Dynamic Risk assessments and an understanding of site risks and method statements and exercises designed to encourage collaborative working which will be essential in completing the project. Constructionarium North East, a collaboration between industry and academia, will launch at The Owen Pugh Group’s Marsden Quarry site in South Tyneside on June 27th and will see the students team up to replicate Sheffield’s distinctive arched Millennium Gallery over a five day period in a live construction environment.

Owen Pugh first began to investigate the idea of establishing an outdoor construction classroom 18 months ago after being inspired by Constructionarium Ltd, a project that has operated successfully from Bircham Newton in Norfolk for the past 10 years, which enables academic institutes to link with industry to ensure that students are able to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical, safe and relevant environment. With support from project partners Northern Counties Builders Federation (NCBF) and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), who have provided funding alongside Owen Pugh, the pilot project was given the green light.

Dr Charlotte Paterson, Civil Engineering Degree Programme Director at Newcastle University, said: “Constructionarium North East is the culmination of over 18 months of negotiation and planning and we are delighted that our partnership with Owen Pugh, local FE colleges and other sponsors has been successful in making the Constructionarium experience possible for our students and young people in the region. The students are benefitting in so many ways from working with industry professionals and also the FE colleges. When back in the classroom, they will have a much better appreciation of the link between theory and practice.”

Michael Burton, Head of Engineering, Construction and IT at TyneMet College said: “We are proud and excited to be involved in this innovative project, which will enable our students to use all they have learned so far in a practical, live brief. Our students are looking forward to working with other institutions to share knowledge, best practice and ensure this project, which is the first of its kind in the North East, is a great success.”

Andy Stephenson, Director of School, Construction, Engineering and Science at Newcastle College, said: “Our aim at the College is to give our students real practical experience that will benefit them once they complete their studies with us. The Constructionarium project is a fantastic example of how employers and institutions can come together to provide first-hand experience of the construction industry.

“We fully support initiatives such as the Constructionarium and our students can’t wait to get started. The experience and skills they will gain will be invaluable for their future career.”

Andy Mountford, general manager at Owen Pugh’s Marsden Quarry site who will be helping to oversee the project, said: “The training day was the first time that the students from the two colleges and the university have come together ahead of the pilot and the session was a real success. Team working will be extremely important in order to complete their project on time and to required quality and health and safety standards and everyone contributed brilliantly.

“The Constructionarium project will help to bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical site delivery, which is essential when preparing students for working in the industry.”

The pilot will be overseen by a team of experts from the original Constructionarium project and civil engineering professionals from Owen Pugh with support from BAM Nuttall and Seymour CEC Ltd.

The students will be split into two groups of varying abilities and from a range of academic disciplines to create their own 4m long Millennium Gallery which will be showcased at a celebration event at the end of the week.

Students will be assessed throughout the week in areas including management, finances and delivering the project itself from setting out the foundations through to assembly.

It is hoped that Constructionarium North East will continue for the long-term. Project partners are calling for any civil engineering contractors and academic institutes who are keen to get involved to get in touch. Anyone interested should contact Jan Elliott from the Owen Pugh Group on jelliott@owenpugh.com for further information.