The first spade has gone into the ground to mark the start of building a new ‘sustainable classroom’ as part of a new focus on developing eco-credentials for construction students at Northampton College.

Work on ‘The Green House Project’ got underway on Tuesday, July 5 as part of an addition to the Advanced Construction and Engineering Centre that incorporates a number of environmentally friendly resources such as a green roof, solar panels and hot water systems.

A number of key industry partners attended the official ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony at Booth Lane to celebrate the launch of a project the college hopes will create a sustainable learning resource where students can embrace the green revolution as part of their studies.

Curriculum manager for construction, Mark Bradshaw, said: “ We are building a sustainable classroom that’s going to start with civil engineers setting it out and then the bricklayers will do the foundations before the carpenters build the timber frame and cladding.

“It’s a collaboration of all the students’ work and once we’ve got it built will be looking at getting local employers to see how they can support it with ground source heat pumps, solar panels, a living roof and using their expertise to tell us what else should be included in it.

“Sustainability is a huge focus within construction and we’ve got to keep up to date with what's going on in industry. The college has its own green initiative and this is a small thing we're going to do to hopefully educate our staff and students and also support the local area.

“It's going to be a hub for sustainability where schools can come to learn more and employers can come to update their workforce.”

Work on the building will take place over the summer before students play their part as part of their course in September.

Companies involved in the project include Castle Climate Control, Cawleys Waste and Resource Management, The Green Cabin Company, Hippo Products and The Green Roof Project.

Carley Fountain from Northampton-based Castle Climate Control said: “It’s really important to nurture the next generation as they are going to be the future problem solvers for things such as climate change.

“It’s nice to be able to offer local people opportunities because ultimately it’s going to boost the local workforce and build on the small businesses within the area. It’s a nice way to get to know the future generations and have a hub where you can connect with those interested in careers within the industry.”

The launch took place as part of a week-long series of events at Northampton College called ‘Supporting Sustainable Futures’ as part of the ongoing Ignite The Spark initiative, which aims to increase the participation of young people in science, technology, engineering, maths and digital subjects by getting them involved in a series of fun, interactive activities during a visit to Booth Lane.