Banks Group development challenge gives Northumbria students a taste of future property development careers

July 8, 2011 | Community News

More than 200 Northumbria University students have been taking part in a new initiative designed to give them a taste of what they will do and how they will work in their future careers.

North east property and energy firm The Banks Group challenged the second year students to come up with ideas for how a redevelopment scheme might be undertaken for a Banks site in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley.

The students, who are in the second year of BSc degree courses in Planning & Development, Estate Management, Building Surveying and Quantity Surveying, took on the different roles that would be included in a development team working on a project of this sort.

Each team had a week to carry out a development appraisal study of the site, which included market research, design work, cost projection and valuation, before presenting their findings and resulting proposals to a panel of expert judges.

The panel included university lecturers, a surveyor and a director from the Banks Group, a planning officer from Newcastle City Council and other industry representatives.

The winning team – Ashley Parkinson, Michael Linnane, William Rowden, Hugo Black, James Wood, James McGlaughlin, Linzi Garrett, Andrew Robson, Peter Kulik and Michael Lakey – put forward a mixed-use scheme, which included a number of apartments, offices and retail space, and was rewarded with £200 of HMV vouchers provided by the Banks Group and presented by local Newcastle City Councillor Nick Kemp.

Barney Pilgrim, managing director of Banks Project Services, part of The Banks Group, says: “The winning team produced a high quality proposal which demonstrated a good understanding of the area, the market and the development costs of taking it forward, and was very much in keeping with the stated priorities of both the local planning authority and the developer themselves.

“All the participants in this programme acquitted themselves extremely well, and it was especially pleasing to see how they quickly adapted to working together in their different roles in order to produce their proposals. 

“Projects such as this give students invaluable hands-on experience of how development teams work in practice, and of how the different specialisms represented in those teams interact to create a final scheme design, and we’re confident that the experience will stand them in good stead after they graduate and enter the industry for real.”

Dom Fearon, Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University adds: “We are delighted that our students have had the opportunity to work alongside valued industry professionals for this scenario-based assessment.

“At the School of the Built and Natural Environment, we continue to offer hands-on learning experiences that allow our students to get a taste of real working environments and we are over the moon that they have done so well.

“We are also very proud of our excellent relationship with the Banks Group, who continue to provide great support to the school, staff and students”.

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