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Baby builders on site at National Horizons Centre

03 October 2018


The National Horizons Centre in Darlington welcomed a brand new generation of construction workers to site, with a visit from a group of two to five year olds from Darlington College Childcare Centre.

Children from Darlington College Childcare Centre at the National Horizons Centre.
Children from Darlington College Childcare Centre at the National Horizons Centre.

Donning specially-made hard hats and high vis jackets, the baby builders were given a lesson from main contractor, Wates Construction, on the importance of safety on a building site.

The children were given chance to sit in a digger and were carefully shown the various different components and materials that can be found on a building site such as scaffolding, machinery, bricks and sand.

The National Horizons Centre is a £22.3m flagship research, teaching and training facility for Teesside University. Work commenced in February this year and reached its uppermost point just last month, marked by a ‘topping out’ ceremony.

The project was recently awarded a score of 46 out of 50 for its impressive construction site standards by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, a not-for-profit organisation established to drive best practice in the industry. The report saw the site team achieve a perfect 10/10 for the innovation shown in its efforts to respect the local community and an exceptional 9/10 for all other areas including protecting the environment and maintaining an immaculate appearance.

Set to drive growth in the regional and national bioscience industries, the National Horizons Centre will sit at the heart of a cluster of excellence on Darlington’s Central Park alongside the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development.

Darlington College Childcare Centre can also be found at Central Park within this digital and biological enterprise zone, providing an extensive range of childcare services from a modern, purpose built facility. Paul Dodsworth, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction North East, Yorkshire and North West, commented: 'We loved having Darlington College Childcare Centre on site with us for the morning; they really looked the business in their hard hats and high vis jackets! But there was a serious purpose to the visit from the nursery. A building site can appear a ready made adventure playground to a child so it is vital we do all we can to draw attention to the dangers. We hope the children had fun and are also left with a lasting reminder that a construction site is not a place to play.'

Amanda Donald, Preschool Room Leader, Darlington College Childcare Centre, added: 'It was wonderful of Wates to welcome us to site and let our children spend some time satisfying their curiosity learning about building materials and machinery. It’s really important that they understand the risks from an early age and they all had a brilliant time. They particularly loved sitting in the digger wearing their hard hats.' Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise at Teesside University, said: 'The National Horizons Centre will help secure jobs for the future by driving growth in the industries that are set to transform the UK economy. 'It was lovely to welcome the youngsters from Darlington College Childcare Centre to our site at Darlington. We hope that in the future some of them may return to Teesside University and the National Horizons Centre as adults to work and study in these industries.'

The National Horizons Centre has been financially supported by the Local Growth Fund, via the Tees Valley Combined Authority, and the European Regional Development Fund. The Local Growth Fund contribution of £17.5m represents the single biggest investment by the fund in the Tees Valley.

Wates Construction was procured to deliver the project via the YORbuild2 framework, which has been developed to provide an efficient and collaborative approach to the procurement of construction projects. It can be accessed by local authorities, public sector bodies or third sector organisations across the Yorkshire and Humber region, Sheffield LEP area, North East England and Lincolnshire.

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