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New College Lanarkshire project shortlisted for CDN College Award

New College Lanarkshire (NCL) has been shortlisted for a prestigious national technology award.

The educational facility is up for a CDN College Award 2021 for an innovative project that recreated a UK-wide skills competition in an online format during lockdown.

It is a finalist in the Digital Learning Award category of the annual accolades, which celebrate innovation in Scotland’s college sector.

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NCL’s shortlisted submission – the Virtual Autodesk Digital Construction Challenge – was led by NCL lecturer Michael McGuire, who is the WorldSkills UK training manager for digital construction.

After WorldSkills UK 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, Michael devised and delivered a virtual version of the digital construction competition, in partnership with software firm Autodesk.

The competition asked students from across the UK 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 industry professionals from architectural, engineering or construction practices.

The contest took place on a cloud-hosted environment, Autodesk BIM360, which was provided free to every competitor, allowing them to compete using their own devices.

As part of the project, Michael also created an extensive online training resource to allow students of colleges and universities across the UK to prepare for the challenge.

Professor Christopher Moore, principal and chief executive at NCL told Lanarkshire Live : “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 on December 9 at the Radisson Blu hotel in Glasgow.

There are 12 categories which aim to showcase the talent, skills and achievements of Scotland’s colleges, their staff and students.

At the same event last year, NCL took home the Employer Connections Award for the Lanarkshire Business Hub.

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