Learning through innovation was the focus of a pioneering ‘Erne Academy’ launched today, Tuesday 15th October, on the site of the new South West College Erne Campus. South West College in association with Tracey Brothers Ltd., the main contractors responsible for the Campus build, have collaborated to create a unique learning opportunity for students.
Michael McAlister, Chief Executive, South West College, said;
“The Erne Campus at SWC will be a flagship for sustainable construction across these islands and beyond. We are very excited about the opportunities this Department for the Economy funded campus will present, both for our students at SWC and the Architectural/Construction Industries across the UK and Ireland. We have already had a significant number of designers and skilled construction personnel visit the college to undertake our PassivHaus Designer and PassivHaus Tradesperson certified training; this developing expertise, alongside a commitment to consider and address a broad range of environmental issues (energy, environmental impact, water usage, and sustainable construction techniques) provides a fertile backdrop for the future collaboration which will take place within the new Erne Academy.”
The Erne Academy will enable students to study in a ‘living learning laboratory’ created by the new campus environment, which will be the first educational building worldwide to achieve the highest international standard in environmental construction – PassivHaus Premium and BREEAM excellent, ranking it alongside prestigious buildings such as the Apple Campus 2 in terms of sustainable innovation and design.
South West College and Tracey Brothers have identified the One Planet Living Principles as a set of measures on which to develop the Learning from the Erne Academy; these principles were applied to support and deliver the bid to host the London 2012 Olympics, and their application to this large academic building is quite unique in these islands – wide ranging issues such as transport, carbon, water, Food, materials, land use, culture and health will be considered in the development and initial usage of this prestigious Erne Campus – a true Academy of Learning!
Therefore, through the Erne Academy, students, researchers and teaching academics will be able to identify industry best practice in relation to the use of technology and innovation to support sustainable living in the region. Areas such as, energy, environmental impact, water usage, and sustainable construction techniques will be examined in relation to design and building applications for domestic and commercial buildings in the future. A team of undergraduate and PHD researchers working and studying at South West College will lead on these developments, in conjunction with industry and innovation partners.
John Tracey, Managing Director, Tracey Brothers Ltd, said;
“Tracey Brothers are looking forward to working as partners with SWC on the Erne Academy. This Academy will be an innovative Knowledge Transfer tool which we believe will develop & deliver real world student centred case study material. We envisage this wider learning experience will provide mutual long-term benefits to both the academic and construction communities in technology, innovation & Sustainability.
The SWC Erne Campus project is pushing the boundaries of technology in almost every aspect, with technologies that are completely new, handcrafted for this project.
Any time you take on a complex project that uses something other than a standard design & construction approach, it is challenging as they are first-offs. We accept these challenging projects to keep us at the cutting edge of innovation and leaders within our industry, and we are delighted with this opportunity to share our experience with the Erne Academy”.
Construction of the 8,200 m2 building is scheduled for completion in August 2020 and has provided employment for over 200 people, including a number of apprenticeship opportunities representing a major economic boost for the South West region. The addition of this new Erne Academy will provide a legacy project to enhance educational and economic development regionally, nationally and internationally.