Games Design students from Northampton College have created a virtual reality teaching tool to help future construction workers better understand the importance of health and safety on building sites.
The project, supported by Digital Northampton and AR Media, saw students devise a way for aspiring builders, plumbers, plasterers and carpenters to visualise the potential dangers in a host of different scenarios on a typical building site, all from the comfort of their own classroom.
The programme will now be used by tutors to teach health and safety and highlight the importance of following guidelines to avoid potential accidents in the workplace.
The competition was won by Level 3 Games Design student Julia Olchawa, who said: “It was very exciting to win. It’s been quite a stressful time because we have had so many projects going on but I’m really happy and very proud of myself.
“It’s been a good effort from everyone, a lot of the assets we did together as a class so it was important to try to get it all to mesh together and it’s ended up working really nicely.”
Julia received a state-of-the-art Oculus Rift virtual reality headset as her prize.
Wayne Roberts of AR Media, one of the judges for the competition, said: “It was nice to see so many students, who put so much hard work into this competition in such a short time. They produced high quality work, what the students have achieved is extremely impressive. It was a very tough decision to pick a winner.
“We’re living in an ever-evolving world and digital skills are becoming increasingly essential for young people. I have kids of my own and they are far more advanced than I am on certain things. Schools and colleges need to encouraging digital development – this generation are the guys who are going to be leading the way in years to come.”
The teaching aid adds to the technology available to students in the college’s new Advanced Construction Engineering Centre at Booth Lane, a bespoke building training the next generation of construction workers.
Richard Beards of Digital Northampton said: “We do lots of work towards creating career pathways for students through from schools and colleges to show them the opportunities in the digital and tech industry in Northamptonshire. It inspires us to know there are talented young people here who can help the county flourish.
“We want to put Northamptonshire on the map for digital innovation and the quality produced by Northampton College students in this competition has helped to motivate us even more in that aim. All the virtual workshops we saw were excellent.”
Aspiring chefs and budding bakers learning their trade in the Booth Lane kitchens have seen their hard work celebrated in style, with Northampton College’s 23rd annual Catering Awards honouring the cream of the current crop of students.
The ceremony saw 10 students receive awards, with a range of industry partners sponsoring the event – held once again in the memory of former student Michael North whose proud parents once again supported the occasion.
Head of Catering Phil Martin said: “As ever, it was a privilege to be able to welcome both current and former students to this celebration and congratulate all of our hard-working young chefs on their achievement. They have gone the extra mile to achieve great results.”
Among the winners was Dan James, who was named ‘Highest Achieving Student’ after winning the Dining in the Dark competition for creating a sensory amuse bouche and also the canape challenge set by local chef and star of BBC 2’s The Chef’s Brigade, James Peck.
Phil Martin added: “Dan is absolutely certain of the career he wants to follow and this has been very apparent since his first day at college. The skills and understanding Dan demonstrate clearly shows the level of commitment he has to succeed. Dan achieved a distinction last year on his level 2 technical qualifications.”
Thomas Hynes won the Introduction to Catering award, Kirsty Kinnear won the Level 1 award, Alex Payne received the award for Level 2 while Tia Cuban won the Level 3 prize.
Jacob Hall was named the student who had shown the most commitment, Katie Franks the most perseverance, Nathan O’Farrell won the hospitality award while Beth Harrison landed the award for patisserie and bakery. Mark Pittman was named best part-time student.
Aspiring electricians, plumbers, painters, plasterers and bricklayers are getting ready for the world of work thanks to a new partnership between Northampton College and a leading construction training company.
The tie-up with Apple Construction will see 50 Level 2 and 3 Construction students take a two-day course to obtain their ‘CSCS card’ – an industry-specific ‘green card’ scheme which effectively acts as a ‘passport’ allowing tradespersons to work on a fully-fledged construction site.
The course involves students take part in health and safety preparation, manual handling and preparing for a written test. Much of the training is hands-on, with practical sessions laid on at the company’s base in Fenny Compton, Warwickshire which doubles as a construction site for the HS2 railway project.
Mark Bradshaw, curriculum manager for construction, said: “The CSCS card is vitally important, without it you won’t be allowed on a site to work. By giving our learners the chance to get their card now, we are presenting them with the final piece in the jigsaw, they’re ready to get out there and work.
“Our Advanced Construction Engineering Centre is preparing the next generation of construction workers and giving them the real-world skills they need to get out there into the workplace and earn a living. This isn’t just about passing exams, it’s about getting them ready hit the ground running and make a real difference to companies who need high-quality workers capable of getting on with the job.”
The two-day courses are taking place for students over the age of 18 until the end of February. The card will remain valid for three years.
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