In Furness College’s building workshops in January 1993 a class of eager South Walney Infants school children were getting to grips with bricks, mortar and theodolites.

It was all part of a new initiative from the Construction Industry Training Board to set up 50 ‘curriculum centres’ across the country.

At the centres, funded by the industry’s training levy and with money from local training and enterprise councils, pupils and teachers had access to equipment and resources no single school could provide.

The training board’s aim was to make a career in building attractive to young people.

For teachers it was an opportunity to embark on projects which cut across the whole curriculum - a practical building project could be the starting point for learning about history, geography, maths, design, materials and the built environment.

And for Furness College it was a great opportunity to open up facilities to local schools and show potential students of the future what the college had to offer.

Delighted South Walney Infants were the first school children to take a look around the college facilities. They would be working on a project with Walney School to design and build an activity area in the school grounds.

Vickerstown School wanted to create a garden area with wheelchair access for disabled pupils at the school, while Sacred Heart wanted to build playground furniture and paint a mural around the outside.

St Barnard’s, Thorncliffe and Croftslands schools were also planning projects.

College development director John Thedham said: “We have to change the public perspective towards the industry.

“A lot of it’s computer based and we can provide CADCAM facilities second to none in the north-west of England.

“Plus we have the construction areas and workshops.”

In 1989 the Motor Vehicle Department at Barrow College of Further Education (whose name was changed to Furness College in 1991) was presented with a 2.8Z fuel-injected Nissan engine foe their students to work on.