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It’s Linlithgold!

MSP Jamie Hepburn (right) congratulates the winning Linlithgow team

I was honoured to be in Edinburgh recently to see Linlithgow Academy clinch first place

in the annual CABEC final.

The event – which has been inspiring Scotland’s youngsters for 20 years – was the culmination of a number of heats in which 300 talented S2 pupils took part from across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The top 100 youngsters then made it to the grand final at the Corn Exchange on Thursday 17 January, which saw the following result:

  • 1st – Linlithgow Academy, West Lothian

  • 2nd – James Gillespie’s High School, Marchmont, Edinburgh

  • 3rd – Broxburn Academy, West Lothian

Each winning team received gift vouchers and a cheque for their craft, design and technology (CDT) department, with Linlithgow also being presented with a large trophy.

I was very impressed by all the youngsters, who all worked extremely hard on the day. Each team was marked by the challenge providers on a number of criteria including teamwork, understanding and carrying out instructions, working safely and completing tasks.

Feedback from the providers was consistent, and they all said they were impressed by the teamwork and how focused each team was.

Comments from the teachers were also encouraging, ranging from “excellent, there is nothing like this anywhere else” to “this is a well-funded and resourced event, which it’s great to see so many partners supporting”.

Another teacher said: “It’s an excellent event, very well organised and gives great opportunities for pupils. We’re already looking forward to CABEC next year!”

The pupils themselves were equally enthusiastic, with their feedback ranging from “great fun” and “very informative” to “challenging, interesting, fun and exciting”.

I was also delighted that Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, was able to attend and present the prizes to the thrilled youngsters. He said: “I was very pleased to attend the finals of the Construction and Built Environment Challenge and to meet the participating children who were hugely enthusiastic about the challenges they had been set.

“I would like to congratulate SECTT and the colleges and universities in the Construction and Built Environment Challenge Group, as well as the teachers in all the participating schools.

“This competition is exactly the sort of event that gives children an idea of the tremendous possibilities there are for worthwhile and rewarding jobs in engineering and construction.”

Now in its 20th year, CABEC sees a team of local college and university staff and training providers devise and run a series of construction, engineering and building services challenges for teams of 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.

I was honoured to manage the challenge and source sponsorship to ensure we can continue to inspire Scotland’s school pupils for the next 20 years!

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



  • Edinburgh College

  • Heriot Watt University

  • Napier University

  • Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT)

  • SCRUC, Oatridge Campus

  • West Lothian College



  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

  • Edinburgh College

  • Electrical Education Training Foundation (EETF)


  • Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF)

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