Schools Embark on Minecraft Challenge to Build City Quays Hotel

Gilbert-Ash, Belfast Harbour and STEM Aware have today launched a schools’ challenge to design and build a version of the new Marriott Hotel using the globally popular Minecraft game.

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Jenni Barkley, Communications & Corporate Responsibility Manager at Belfast Harbour, Rachel McDermott, Education & Programme Coordinator at STEM Aware and Warren Copeland, Project Manager at Gilbert-Ash. Joined by pupils from Malone College and Bloomfield Collegiate.

Gilbert-Ash, Belfast Harbour and STEM Aware have launched a schools’ challenge to design and build a version of the new AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast using the globally popular Minecraft game.

Working with seven Belfast schools, the initiative is aimed at raising awareness among school children of the wide range of exciting careers open to them within the construction industry. It will also demonstrate how new technologies that the students are familiar with are being incorporated into a work environment.

The pilot school’s project will give students a hands on experience of the design and build process.

Aquinas Grammar, Malone Integrated College, Mitchell House School, St Malachy’s College, Methodist College, Bloomfield Collegiate and St Dominic’s College have been tasked with delivering their completed design in early December. They will have the opportunity to add in their own creative input in line with the theme of ‘sustainability’.

Last month Gilbert-Ash was appointed to build the new £25m hotel project which forms part of Belfast Harbour’s City Quays development.

Launching the challenge at the Belfast Harbour Office following a tour of the site, Maria Bradley, HR & Quality Manager at Gilbert-Ash, said:

“We came up with this project because we wanted to do something different which would encourage the next generation to consider a career in the construction industry. It has been great to partner with Belfast Harbour and STEM Aware to make it all come to life and we think that giving the students the opportunity to see the site at the beginning of the programme will give them an insight into what our roles actually involve. We introduced the theme of sustainability to get the students thinking about various solutions that could be incorporated on a hotel build which would make the building more efficient to operate, having less impact on resources and the environment.”

Jenni Barkley, Communications & Corporate Responsibility Manager at Belfast Harbour, said:

“The City Quays development is now well under way and it is one of the most exciting developments the city has seen in recent years. It is a great time for students from each of the seven schools to come down and see for themselves the construction activity which is taking place. This challenge will provide inspiration to school pupils and allow them to discover their own passion for the construction industry.  Working in partnership with Gilbert-Ash on this innovative project is really exciting and we are looking forward to seeing the designs the young people come up with. ”

Rachel McDermott, Education & Programme Coordinator at STEM Aware, said:

“This project gives seven schools from across the city the experience of being on a construction site and watching a development come to life but also the challenge of delivering their own design. We wanted to be involved in this partnership because we understand the value of providing a blended education into the STEM careers that are on offer in Northern Ireland.”

For more information follow #MinecraftBuilder on Twitter.