Alness Academy pupils are top DEC!

Jan 23, 2019

Pupils worked with industry professionals to design an Eco classroom

Some of the team constructing the new £33 million Alness Academy joined forces with S2 pupils in the current building for a day-long Design Engineer Construct! (DEC) workshop.

DEC is a learning programme for secondary pupils aimed at inspiring the next generation of Built Environment professionals. It was created by land surveyor Alison Watson and is delivered to schools throughout Scotland, England and Wales.

Alison travelled north to Alness after Kier Construction, the main contractor for the new school “adopted” the current school as part of its community benefits programme. She hosted an Eco Classroom workshop where the pupils worked alongside industry professionals to create a standalone Eco classroom for the community.

Seven teams of pupils spent the day taking on the roles of a building design company to develop their own project. The roles included company director, sustainability officer, marketing manager, brand designer, architects, surveyors and landscape designers.

Helping Alison were design manager Kevin McBeath, senior quantity surveyor Marianne McLeod, and social impact and key performance indicator co-ordinator Gwen Blair, all from Kier Construction; landscape architect and Edinburgh University lecturer Simon Munro and hub North Scotland’s communications and marketing manager Bob Dow. Building Services Engineer Jozua Van Tonder from consultants Pick Everard helped judge the completed entries.

The pupils discovered skills such as how to take site measurements using laser distance meters, how to lay out a landscape design, creating a sustainable building and how to develop a brand. Probably the most important skill they learned was team work, particularly when it came to presenting their projects to the judging panel.

All seven teams came up with really good ideas with the winning entry from Team Greenergy taking the trophy for their innovative plan for a recycled wooden classroom with a grass/glass roof with a community café with its own vegetable garden.

Tracy Robertson, head of the school’s art, design and technology faculty, said: “It was a brilliant day for our pupils and it was great for them to get the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals.”