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George helps students build better futures

TV personality and architect George Clarke has returned to his former college to share his advice and expertise with students now studying construction management at Sunderland College.

<p>As part of their studies, students on HNC Construction Management and the Built Environment course are set complex briefs to challenge them.</p>
<p>Second year students have been working on a project set by English Heritage to redevelop the Grade 1 listed Hylton Castle. The project focused on bringing  Hylton Castle back into use without damaging any of the ancient stonework.</p>
<p>First year students worked on a project set by George when he visited last year to redevelop a disused factory site – creating a scheme that would bring jobs and visitors to the city.</p>
<p>Along with a panel of industry experts and representatives from English Heritage, George was there to judge the students’ efforts and offer feedback and advice on their work.</p>
<p>Originally from Blackfell, Washington, George studied the same construction management course at Sunderland College before focusing on architecture at university.</p>
<p>Now a well-known TV personality, George has presented numerous property shows, most recently ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’.</p>
<p>He said: “Studying at Sunderland College was an important step on my way to becoming an architect, and getting to where I am today.</p>
<p>“It’s incredibly important that I keep in touch with the college and work with the students. I want to share with them what I’ve learnt along the way and encourage them to push themselves and pursue their careers.</p>
<p>“Today’s presentations were fantastic and demonstrated real talent for project planning and design, as well as some incredibly creative responses to the brief.</p>
<p>“I hope my feedback and suggestions have proved useful and that the students go away full of enthusiasm for the course – and full of confidence in their abilities.”</p>
<p>Students Anthony Dawson, of Jarrow, and Dolly Begum, of South Shields, were among those presenting to George and the panel and were thrilled to meet one of their heroes.</p>
<p>Anthony said: “Today’s been great. We’ve been working hard on this project for most of the term, coming up with ideas for the castle and planning how we’d present them.</p>
<p>“To get feedback from people already in the industry is really helpful and they had some great ideas too. The amount you have to consider when redeveloping an ancient monument like this is immense.</p>
<p>“To meet someone like George who’s been so successful is really inspirational. He’s from just down the road from where we live, so it shows what I could achieve too.</p>
<p>“Studying at the college has been an amazing experience, the opportunities that the course has offered me will be important in by future career. I wouldn’t have chosen to study anywhere else.”</p>
<p>Gerry Ruffles, lecturer in Construction Design and Management, said: “The students have embraced this project and come up with some well thought-out solutions to the problem. Today’s event has been a huge success and they have all learnt a great deal from the panel of experts.</p>
<p>“Having alumni like George Clarke, who continues to be involved with the college, and who is so successful in his career is invaluable.</p>
<p>“His involvement gives our students a real insight into what they could achieve, and instils a sense of ambition – something we always strive for at Sunderland College.”</p>
<p>A spokesman for English Heritage said: “I’m incredibly impressed with the creativity and ingenuity the students have shown when tackling this project.</p>
<p>“The brief we set them was extremely challenging but they’ve carefully considered all the requirements and come up with some excellent ideas.</p>
<p>“They’ve given English Heritage a lot to consider.”</p>

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