Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.42.49The civil engineering sector and academia have joined forces to launch an ambitious North East project designed to provide students with a hands-on construction experience.

The Constructionarium North East pilot is set to launch at the Owen Pugh Group’s Marsden Quarry site in South Tyneside on June 27th and will see 24 students from Newcastle University, Newcastle College and TyneMet College team up to construct scaled down versions of the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, a distinctive modern arched structure, over a five day period.

Leading North East civil engineers Owen Pugh first began to investigate the idea of establishing an outdoor construction classroom some 18 month 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.  Over the years participants have constructed scaled down versions of bridges, buildings, dams and civil engineering projects from around the world.

With the Marsden Quarry site providing an ideal working environment and with strong support from the education sector and 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.

John Dickson, chairman of the Owen Pugh Group, said: “We are delighted to have been given the go ahead from Constructionarium to deliver the pilot here in the North East to enable this experience to be accessible to students throughout the region and we are pleased to have the support of CECA and NCBF in delivering this inaugural North East project.  The 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 project will be overseen by a team of experts from the original Constructionarium project and civil engineering professionals from Owen Pugh.  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.

Robin Holdsworth, scheme director for Constructionarium Ltd, said: “I am delighted with the launch of Constructionarium North East which adds to the growth of the very successful Constructionarium project. It will offer a unique practical learning experience for students at schools, colleges and universities. The students, who have to make all the decisions during the week, undertake all the tasks required to build a scaled down version of an iconic structure. By working with industry professionals in a safe environment, the students will get a genuine taste for the thrills of a career in construction.”

Ahead of the event the students will all undertake necessary health and safety training as well as teambuilding which will be essential in successfully completing the project.

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.