Students combine forces to rise to eco-challenge

April 6, 2018

Students from Chichester College, Brinsbury and Crawley College enjoyed their first combined cross-college group learning experience recently. 

The day – which was sponsored by NCOP (National Collaborative Outreach Programme) and Chichester College’s Enterprise Society – attracted more than 50 students, from a range of subjects including engineering, design, motor vehicle, aeronautical and science, who came together at Brinsbury to develop the classroom of the future.

They were split into seven groups – representing their own companies – and were given a brief to design a standalone eco-classroom for the Brinsbury campus, each taking on various roles within the ‘company’.

Lecturer Martin Smailes ran the event, aided by staff and a number of industry professionals, including projects officer Jane Reeve (Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group), sustainables product manager Graeme Clements (Covers), company director and engineer Craig Girdlestone (Danston Technical Services) and mechanical director and engineer Steve Pace (Rossair), along with Kay Brown (HNW Architects) and Kevin White, Estates Manager from Chichester College.

The students were invited to examine the proposed location of the classroom, as well as look around the campus at Brinsbury, before looking at their design and how they would create a sustainable classroom – as well as think about how their company would reflect their principles.

At the end of the day, the groups presented their ideas to the panel of experts who were joined by Andrew Green, Chichester College Group Executive Principal, and Andy Chater, Head of Learning for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at Chichester College.

They were judged across a range of criteria, with the three highest scoring teams winning cinema tickets.

Andy Chater said: “This was an important project which really brings our students learning to the fore, and makes it much more real.

“We took them out of their comfort zone, mixed everyone up, giving them different people to interact with, and it was fantastic to see how they embraced the experience.

“It was also fascinating to see the different ideas they had, as they considered how to make the classroom energy efficient and a good learning environment – some teams went very high tech whereas others really stripped things back.

“In a short space of time they developed some impressive ideas and delivered articulate presentations, answering some challenging questions along the way. They made our job as judges exceptionally hard.”

Andrew Green added: “I was extremely impressed with the all of our students – the level of detail and thought was exceptional.

“It was great to see a range of students from different campuses, different curriculum areas and levels working together so seamlessly on a collaborative project.

“They were not only putting their learning into practice, but also developing their communication skills and learning skills which will translate into employment.”

The next step should see these concept ideas presented to students in the new academic year, who will look to develop the designs including detailed costings. It’s then hoped local sponsors will be identified, who will be able to support the college to making the design a reality.

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