NCL’s digital construction challenge in the frame for top industry award

The winner of the challenge was NCL graduate Pawel Kudosz

NEW College Lanarkshire is celebrating after being shortlisted in the CDN College Awards 2021 for a digital construction project that recreated a UK-wide skills competition in an online format during lockdown.

The college is a finalist in the Digital Learning Award category. Its submission – the Virtual Autodesk Digital Construction Challenge – was led by lecturer Michael McGuire, who is the WorldSkills UK training manager for digital construction.

After WorldSkills UK 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, Michael devised and delivered a virtual version of the competition, in partnership with software specialist Autodesk.

The competition challenged students to perform a series of real-world project tasks designed to test their readiness for the digital construction workplace. Tasks were developed in partnership with professionals from architectural, engineering and construction practices.

The competition took place on cloud-hosted Autodesk BIM360, which was provided free to every competitor.

As part of the project, Michael McGuire created an online training resource to help students prepare for the challenge.

Professor Christopher Moore, principal and chief executive at New College Lanarkshire, said, “The Virtual Autodesk Digital Construction Challenge was created out of Michael’s determination that lockdown wouldn’t see students missing out on the chance to compete against their peers after WorldSkills UK was cancelled in 2020. Michael felt that as the digital construction industry had moved to remote working, there was no reason why a competition couldn’t also be run remotely – and he was right, as it was a resounding success.

“The online training resource created as part of this project will also be of benefit to our students for years to come. I am hopeful that this innovative and very deserving project will take home this prestigious award in December.”

Organised by the College Development Network (CDN), the awards will take place in Glasgow on December 9.