Slide show: Royal visit to Great Bircham

HRH. The Duke of York visits CITB Bircham Newton ANL-150622-142654009
HRH. The Duke of York visits CITB Bircham Newton ANL-150622-142654009
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The Duke of York made a flying visit to watch trainee engineers create an oil rig and bridge in Great Bircham yesterday.

Prince Andrew spent more than an hour speaking to staff and students at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

During the visit, the Duke toured the Constructionarium, which is undergoing a £2.5million expansion, to speak to university students who have been set the challenge to build an oil rig or bridge in just five days.

The Duke, whose work is focused on creating skilled jobs and assisting the economic success of the UK, was very interested in what he saw.

He said: “I’m really excited about what you are trying to deliver for young people.”

The Duke arrived at the training hangar and had a 20-minute private briefing before watching instructor Jody Loram teach seven University of Birmingham students how to use a jigsaw.

He then moved onto the Constructionarium, where two groups of students are completing a five-day course to build scaled down versions of the Ravenspurn Oil Rig Platform or Kingsgate Bridge. Previous courses have built The Gherkin and Barcelona Tower.

Students are assessed on management, finances and delivering the project.

Work is currently ongoing to create two further zones on the Constructionarium, which are due to be completed in October, thanks to a £2.5 million investment from CITB.

During his tour of the site, the Duke quizzed students and instructors on the projects.

He asked Wahedullah Ludeen and his colleagues about the benefits of the course.

Mr Ludeen said: “We told him that this was such a great experience and should be made compulsory.”

Scheme director Robin Holdsworth told the Duke that social media has helped with the expansion of the Constructionarium by attracting overseas students.

Mr Holdsworth said of the visit: “It raised the profile of the Constructionarium and CITB.

“It has shown the Duke that we are making every effort to involve young people in construction.

“He is an ambassador for the construction industry and he does realise that it is a fragmented industry that has got to work together.”

Operations manager Tony Millikin helped with the tour and felt the visit had gone very well.

He said: “The Duke asked some very in-depth questions and had certainly done his homework. I felt it was very important that he spent the time he did talking with the students.

“I hope that more people in industry become aware of the need for this sort of training.”