Young Apprentice Construction Challenge

East Durham College recently played host to 16 Year 10 ‘Young Apprentices’ from Wellfield and Seaham Schools in a week long Construction Challenge. The motivational Challenge taught industry-related skills to the YA’s so they could then work together to complete a series of building challenges and compete for recognition in an end of week judging ceremony.  

Split into four groups of four students, the Young Apprentice’s battled it out to design and build four structures using their new skills.  

On Friday afternoon the structures were judged by those already within the industry and holding positions that the Young Apprentices may one day aspire to be in. Miller, who are currently working on the College’s own £35m New Build, sent the crème-de-le-crème of their workforce to judge the competition. Dougie Baird, the New Build Site Agent, and Jeff Hedley, the Project Manager assigned to oversee the £35m state of the art College New Build, were tasked with using their industry expertise to judge the results of the Construction Challenge.

Using set criteria to evaluate the skill of each group in areas such as setting out the design as a plan, regular joint thickness, and neatness of task and design, the judges were looking to find the team with the best, or most innovative design. Each design in addition, had to have the four elements of pillar, joint (corner turn), straight wall and arch within the design.  

With only eleven points difference between the four teams, the competition really was tough. The runners up were Team D from Seaham School whilst Team C from Wellfield School took the grand trophy prize. College Principal Ian Prescott was on hand to help celebrate the achievements of all involved and commented on what a good job each team had done and how he hoped that they would progress on after school to become apprentices with the College.

Jeff Hedley (Miller) commented that he ‘could see potential quality workmen and women’ in all of those who took part in the challenge.  

Young Apprenticeships study within their area during Year 10 and Year 11 with the aim of progressing onto a full apprenticeship programme in that area upon leaving school.  The programme of study also includes employer visits, work experience and week-long practical challenges.