Wigan school pupils join forces with housebuilder to design their own university on former colliery site

Creative Wigan teenagers have been applying their talents to the world of property thanks to a housebuilder.
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Enterprising year 10 and 11 pupils at St Peter’s Catholic High School, in Orrell, took on a two-day design challenge to come up with a concept for a new university on Northstone’s land at the former Pemberton colliery.

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Acting like a multi-disciplinary project team, the pupils had to work as a group, with an appointed project manager deciding who would take the reins in key roles such as architect, landscape designer and estimator.

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The teams had to consider everything about their proposed university – from name and specialism, to building layout; materials; interior design; environment and sustainability; and marketing – before presenting their vision to a panel of expert judges.

The winning team, which named their proposal The Northern University of Design and Technology, walked away with vouchers and a certificate, with a separate prize handed to pupil George Birch for his outstanding contribution.

The challenge and active engagement with schools and colleges is part of Northstone’s commitment to getting more young people fired up about careers in property.

As the homebuilding arm of Peel L&P, Northstone is currently delivering 268 super-sustainable two, three and four-bed homes at Tulach, a new community off Smithy Brook Road.

Pupils worked together in teamsPupils worked together in teams
Pupils worked together in teams
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Jo Allen, head of partnership and development at Northstone, said: “Today’s young people will be the planners, architects and developers of tomorrow – they’ll shape our communities for decades to come. There are so many varied and creative careers in property and it was incredible to see St Peter’s pupils attacking the different roles with real enthusiasm and creativity. Their pitches were inspiring and gave them first-hand experience of the different potential career paths as well as an opportunity to practice the dreaded public speaking.

“We want to leave a lasting legacy around the communities we’re building. It’s been excellent for our team to pass down their experiences to young people, as well as give them a sneak preview of our Pemberton homes before they go on sale.”

The wider partnership with St Peter’s has seen 11 year olds get in on the action too. The 7Up project saw year seven pupils visit the Tulach site to learn about construction, with the plan for them to do so every six months over the coming years.

Nova Maloney, the school’s futures co-ordinator, said: “Our relationship with Northstone has developed into such an amazing opportunity for our pupils with regular support with various activities. As a school we aim to empower all pupils to reach their potential and have as many chances to explore the world of work as possible – Northstone are helping to put this into practice.

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“Their attendance at the enterprise days ensured that each job role was injected with realism, with expert seminars delivered in all roles to help the teams to pull together the brief. Our 7Up team are so excited about working with Northstone and have just taken part in an activity on site, and seen homes in various stages of development - a fantastic relationship!”

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