Mackie Academy taking part in the boardroom challenge

The Build Your Future challenge was launched by Grampian Construction Training (GCT) in August of this year and was designed to highlight the full range of exciting, inspiring and rewarding career choices within the construction industry to pupils, parents and teachers.

The event very quickly gathered widespread support from various groups, businesses and educational establishments including Halliday Fraser Munro, Stewart Milne Group, Glulam Solutions, K R Group, Robert Gordon University, North East of Scotland Colleges, Kirkwood Homes, and Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) to name only a few.

Collectively, supporting companies created a range of inspiring construction-based tasks including ‘Build a Sustainable City’, ‘Create a Lock Block Driveway’, ‘Plumbing Obstacle Course’, ‘Build a Structure Without Using Your Hands’, and ‘Build a Tower, on Time and Under Budget’. Each task is allocated a maximum of 30 minutes, and teams are marked on criteria such as how well they worked as a team, and their overall understanding of what was expected of them.

Secondary schools from Aberdeen City and Shire were invited to submit a team of ten S2 pupils to take part in a series of construction-based challenges, with one team from each heat going through to a final event that is taking place at Aberdeen Football Club on Thursday 30th January. The overall winner will be presented with their award by special guest Stewart Milne, who will have the chance to share his own career path with the pupils.

20 out of the 30 North-east secondary schools signed up to take part in this first year, and teams of 10 from the following secondary schools are now going through to take part in the final challenge:

Meldrum Academy, Lochside Academy, Harlaw Academy, Mintlaw Academy, Ellon Academy, Turriff Academy, Kemnay Academy and Westhill Academy.

Jim Buchan, chair of Grampian Construction Training said: “We are absolutely delighted at how well the Build Your Future challenge has been embraced by the North-east. We would like to take this opportunity to thank every school who signed up to take part in this first year, ensuring that the challenge got off to the best possible start. We are extremely fortunate to have met over 200 incredible young people across the past months, and it has been wonderful to see how they tackled and embraced each of the challenges they were set. I would also like to congratulate those who have made it to the final, we look forward to seeing them all again at Aberdeen Football Club in January.

“I would also like to thank all the companies and individuals who have given up their time, expertise and financial support to ensure that Build Your Future was not only free for all schools to take part in, but that it also showcased the wide range of opportunities within construction, and the incredible projects that pupils could go on to work in.”

David Halliday, managing director of Main Sponsor Halliday Fraser Munro said: “We have been inspired and impressed by the high quality work produced by the students throughout the challenge: it’s safe to say that the future of our industry is in very safe hands should these young people decide to follow this as a career path.

“Architecture, design and construction offer incredible career opportunities. Anyone who enters these sectors will develop skills that will allow them to create transformational projects and build vibrant communities anywhere in the world.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in the Build Your Future challenge, and we cannot wait to see what work the students produce in the final.”

Neil Thomson, regional director, Stewart Milne Homes, host of the final day of heats said ”We were absolutely delighted to host the final Build Your Future heat this week, and welcome teams from Aberdeen Grammar School, Harlaw Academy, Kemnay Academy, Inverurie Academy, Westhill Academy & Mackie Academy. It is extremely important to us that we continue to promote the construction industry as an exciting and lucrative career choice, and this challenge offered the perfect platform to do this.

“There has never been a better time to work in construction, and we really need to make sure that message is getting to pupils, parents and teachers. We also need to ensure that teachers have the necessary information and resources available, to allow them to guide any pupil considering a career in construction through the various pathways available.”

There are still opportunities for companies to support the Build Your Future challenge, and if you would like to know more contact or call 01224 646311.