Hawarden students learn about construction from top builder

Year Nine students at a Flintshire school have been given an insight into the world of construction thanks to an award-winning building firm.

Anwyl Construction sent a special representative to Hawarden High School to put the youngsters through their paces on a Building Game project.

ANWYL BUILDING COMPETITION AT HAWARDEN HIGH SCHOOL. Pictured is Callum Roberts, Emma Gerraghty, Verity Brown, Kane Owen, Dan Eccleston and Adam OBrien.

Mathew Allport, the firm’s first Construction Ambassador, headed up the two-day programme which aims to help students understand the different roles and skills needed within a building industry construction team.

Mathew, 25, from St Asaph, who has been with the Rhyl-based company, North Wales’s premier construction company and largest house builder, for more than eight years, organised the pupils into mini building companies with students playing different roles.

He said: “Each team had a project manager, site engineer, quantity surveyor, general foreman and planner. The teams were then asked to build an exact copy of a model as quickly, accurately and as cheaply as possible.

“But only the project manager and the site engineer are able to view the model and even then, separately, and only for a limited amount of time and then they have to describe the model to the rest of their team.

“The quantity surveyor needs to order the bricks and the general foreman is the only one allowed to touch the building blocks.

“Of course the blocks costs money and the team that builds the most accurate model at the least cost is declared the winner.  And there is a financial penalty to pay should the project manager or site foreman need to look again at the model in the architect’s office.”

Hawarden High School teacher and curriculum manager Helen Ellis said that working with Anwyl Construction was beneficial to the development of students and had allowed them the freedom to express themselves in a less formal environment.

She said: “It has been a wonderful exercise and taught pupils not only about the varied roles within the construction industry but also about working with others and as part of a team.

ANWYL BUILDING COMPETITION AT HAWARDEN HIGH SCHOOL. Pictured is Accountant Luke Lacey and Planner Louise Callow.

“It’s also been about enterprise, the ability to problem solve, listening to others and communication skills and adapting strategies.

“We like to think we have managed to stimulate our students and shown them a little about the various roles to be found within the construction industry, it’s certainly been an enjoyable and challenging event for our students.”


Harwarden High School student, Katie Riddell, 14, took on a planning role in her team of six and says the Building Game had been really enjoyable.

She said: “It was all about team work and we had to work really closely and listen to each other. In the end we managed to replicate the building and came within budget and that was down to working closely as a team.”

Lewis Jones, 14, and interested in pursuing a career in construction, said: “It has been a really practical exercise and I really enjoyed it. I think we realised very early on how we had to work as a team and listen to each other.”

Daniel Coupland, 14, who was project manager for the winning team, said their success was all down to co-operation and listening to each other: “It was really difficult at first until we realised the importance of each role.

“It was really different and practical and I think we all really enjoyed the challenge.”

Mathew said: “It has been really interesting and the students have really taken the game very seriously. It has certainly given pupils the chance to see just what the construction industry is all about and how the different roles work within a team framework.

“It’s also a great way to show girls that there are careers within the construction industry, careers they may have overlooked when planning their futures.

“We are now seeing more female workers getting involved in the industry in general. I know at the Denbigh site I’m currently working on we have two female painters which is good to see.

“There is no doubt girls can forge just as successful a career as their male peers. In fact, what I have seen here is that they have more authority and organisational skills than many of the boys.”

Working with Mathew on the event were Glyn Hughes, of Wynne Construction, and Emrys Roberts of the Construction Industry Training Board, who said: “The standard the pupils have shown and their level of understanding has been excellent. The game is really all about project management and working as a team.

“They have done exceptionally well and have all learned a great deal about the industry and the various careers that are on offer to anyone willing to work hard and study.”

Hawarden High School’s Work Related Learning co-ordinator, Julie Parry, said the event had proved popular and she said: “Students have, without doubt, found it informative and rewarding.

“If we have shown pupils the many roles involved within the construction industry that has to be a good thing and it has also been a good team building exercise which pupils have learnt a great deal from.”

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