Marsden Quarry helps students lay down foundations for a career

Students taking part in Constructionarium at Marsden Quarry
Students taking part in Constructionarium at Marsden Quarry

Students have been given an insight into opportunities in the construction industry with a week of events on South Tyneside.

Marsden Quarry held its second Constructionarium North East week, welcoming students from as far afield as Cumbria.

We hope it will do for the community what we want it to do – help meet future skills needs for building all the works ahead. The whole gamut of construction skills has been tested here.

John Dickson

Constructionariums, now held in several parts of the country, were first devised in Norfolk over a decade ago and aim to bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical site teaching.

The young learners came from the universities of Newcastle, Northumbria and Teesside, from Newcastle, Gateshead, TyneMet and Carlisle Colleges, and from Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington. Supporters included Northern Counties Builders Federation, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (North East) and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Altogether 36 students and early stage apprentices got the chance to build scaled- down replicas of the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, during which they were assessed in management, finances and project delivery as they learned from the company supervisors about complexities of design in planning, method statements and risk assessment.

The quarry is owned by the Owen Pugh Group, whose chairman and managing director John Dickson said: “Constructionarium North East 2017 has been a tremendous success, almost doubling the number of students involved in last year’s maiden event, and three or four times more the number of universities and colleges participating.

“Many more companies, organisations and individual supporters from the industry have also given support.

“It represents an important step towards a sustainable future for the Constructionarium project in the North East

“This Constructionarium differs from others around the country. It’s an initiative by private industry and centres of education here in the North East and Cumbria.

“We hope it will do for the community what we want it to do – help meet future skills needs for building all the works ahead. The whole gamut of construction skills has been tested here.”

Robin Holdsworth, scheme director of Constructionarium Ltd, who also attended, says: “I was astounded by the enthusiasm that everyone showed. I’m certain this second Constructionarium in the North East is going to grow.”