top of page

Girl power!

An all-female team of teenage school students from Dalkeith triumphed in this year’s Construction and Built Environment Challenge (CABEC) – and as always, the standard was high and the competition tough

The talented young women from Newbattle Community High School were celebrating after winning this year’s CABEC final. The teenage team saw off a strong challenge from their fellow S2 pupils to triumph in the annual competition, which this year took place at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on Thursday 11 January.

This event was the culmination of a number of heats that saw 300 pupils from Edinburgh and the Lothians taking part, with the top 100 going through to the final.

On the day itself, the teams were set a series of construction, engineering and building challenges that included creating a picnic bench, making a technical sketch and designing a road for 2049.

They were then marked on a number of criteria, including teamwork, understanding and carrying out instructions, working safely, and completing the tasks. The full list of winners was:

  • 1st – Newbattle Community High School

  • 2nd – Balerno High School

  • 3rd – North Berwick High School

Each team won gift vouchers, with the three winning schools receiving a cheque for their craft design technology (CDT) department. As you’ll see from the cover of this issue, Newbattle were also presented with a large trophy, which they proudly showed off.

Afterwards, Newbattle teacher Jennifer Watson said: “My group thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and are still talking about it every time they see me.

“The competition brought them together and gave them experiences that they can’t get in a classroom. “Several of them are now very interested in careers that are linked to the activities in the competition and I’m helping them along the way.

“Everyone involved in the competition was so great with my group and encouraged them to do challenges that they would have never tackled. I’m already looking for a team for next year and my girls are very disappointed they can’t do it again.”

Personally, I was very impressed by the teams, who all worked extremely hard on the day. I was also delighted that Newell McGuiness, Managing Director, SELECT, was able to attend and present the prizes.

Newell said: “I have supported CABEC for a number of years and was delighted to be asked to present the prizes.

“All the teams were excellent and a credit to themselves and their schools. Hopefully they will now consider a career in construction and the built environment.

“One thing’s for sure – if they apply the enthusiasm and creativity that was shown today to their careers, the future certainly looks bright. Well done to all who took part.”

Elaine Ellis, from the Electrical Education Training Foundation (EETF), who is also Qualification and Skills Manager at SELECT, added: “SELECT and the EETF have provided sponsorship for this competition for a number of years as we recognise the positive impact of CABEC.

“The event highlights the great career opportunities in construction and the built environment. Every year we continue to be amazed at the high calibre of entrants. The talent on display is amazing!”

Held each year since 1999, CABEC sees local college and university staff and training providers devise and run challenges for teams of S2 pupils aged 13 and 14.

All schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians are invited to put forward a team of 10 pupils, with the aim of showing them the varied and exciting careers available at this vital stage in their education.

During this year’s heats, pupils were given a wide range of tasks, including building twisting brick pillars, monoblocking, making a fan trellis for their school garden, and plumbing in a radiator.

On a personal level, I’m proud to manage the challenge and source sponsorship to ensure we can continue to inspire pupils for the next 18 years.

For further information about SECTT and CABEC, visit call 0131 445 5659 or email



  • Edinburgh College

  • Heriot Watt University

  • Historic Environment Scotland

  • Napier University

  • Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT)

  • SCRUC, Oatridge Campus

  • West Lothian College


  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

  • Edinburgh City Council

  • Edinburgh College

  • Electrical Education Training Foundation (EETF)

  • Napier University

  • Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF)

1st Newbattle Community High School, Dalkeith, Midlothian

Teacher: Jennifer Watson


Balerno High School, Edinburgh

Teacher: James MacLeod


North Berwick High School, East Lothian

Teacher: Amy Johnson

Recent Posts
bottom of page