With a high profile presence in the area, Carnell have been keen to strike up a long term relationship with one or more local high schools in and around Newton Aycliffe. After an initial meeting, Woodham Academy expressed an interest and invited us to participate in their Year 9 Apprentice Challenge. This seemed an ideal opportunity for not just Carnell, but the Area 14 Community to help plant the seed of interest for future generations. Following an invitation to the NYNE community – CHC, Colas and WJ very kindly offered their support and participation. We agreed a collaborative approach, with the four companies representing highway as a single entity. So, on Tuesday 27th September, we met at Woodham Academy and delivered a joint presentation to several Year 9 tutor groups, sharing with them what each of our organisations do, and provide inspiration for a project of their own. This would then be shared with parents and the respective companies at a special presentation evening in November. Following a nerve racking hour or so trying to engage with teenagers, a coach load of students were invited back to our J59 concrete barrier scheme compound in Aycliffe village. A specially designed area had been established where the students could safely view impressive demonstrations of WJ robotic line marking and an IPV care of CHC – both of which were very well received. This was then followed by face to face meetings with Carnell apprentice Patrick and engineer Tara, a STEM ambassador, inside the site offices. A most successful morning was rounded off by a guided drive-through tour of our J59-60 barrier scheme – the first and only time I have provided commentary to a coach load of students!!