Pioneering schools project expands

A pioneering project aimed at giving students a leg up the ladder in the construction industry, is expanding.

The Avenue School Challenge, which aims to help students find out more about the world of construction and improve their science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) skills, was set up by North East Derbyshire District Council and partners in autumn 2018.

However, thanks to the success of the pilot project, the council has now pledged to continue with the initiative for the next ten years.

Cllr Martin Thacker MBE, Leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to help students find apprenticeships and work experience through this pioneering project.

“I’m also pleased we have been able to expand the scheme, so it can be of benefit to even more young people eager to carve out a career in construction.”

Pupils from Tupton Hall School and Parkside Community School took part in the pilot project, which included taking part in various ice-breaking and construction activities at our Wingerworth offices, as well as site visits, talks in school from industry professionals and a visit to Chesterfield College to create video CVs.

At the end of the scheme, the students then attended a special presentation evening, where they were presented with certificates and a CREST qualification – a widely recognised national award within the construction sector - for all their hard work.

In addition, four pupils were given apprenticeships and three students had work experience placements with Kier Living, who are building the first phase of houses on the Avenue site in Wingerworth and have been involved with the project from the start.

Four schools will now be involved in the Avenue School Challenge, when it is re-launched on 23 September 2019.

On this day, students from the schools will be invited to North East Derbyshire District Council’s Mill Lane offices in Wingerworth to join in construction related activities to develop team building and project management skills, in addition to interviewing professionals in the construction sector to find out what is involved in their job roles.

Any schools who would like more information about the project should contact Jane Weston, Employment and Skills Officer, NEDDC, on 01246 217205, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.