Castleisland Community College crowned winner of the CIF’s Design a Home for Everyone

Castleisland Community College, Castleisland, County Kerry has scooped the overall award for the Construction Industry Federation’s Design a Home for Everyone competition.

The community college was selected over the other finalists at the first CIF’s Design a Home for Everyone Awards ceremony that saw its ‘No Man is an Island’ entry edged out both Coláiste Iognáid S.J, a bilingual secondary school in Galway for its ‘TOTA VITA’ entry, and St. Joseph’s College in Lucan, County Dublin, for its ‘The Eco-tainer Home’ entry.

Castleisland Community College’s winning entry, ‘No Man is an Island’ looked at creating a sustainable solution to address the current Irish homeless crisis. The mostly female student group extensively researched environmentally sustainable practices in constructing homes of the future.

The students also worked with Lee Mangan, CEO of  Madden and Mangan Construction to advise on the optimum blend of materials, design and building techniques to make this possible.  The ultimate design is fully accessible for people of all ages and abilities, embraced new smart home technologies, that would enable these house to be built in a cost-effective way.

This competition in its inaugural year was aimed at secondary school and youth reach students is a team-based project where students nationwide will work together to design a home that helps ‘solve’ climate change, the housing crisis, and addresses inclusivity. The submitted designs needed to be eco-friendly, affordable, and suitable for both elderly people and those with physical disabilities.

Castleisland Community College will have their design rendered into a three-dimensional model, so they can ‘walk’ through the house with a range of ambassadors, politicians, celebrities, parents, and local councillors in late 2021.

In addition, the community college will receive high end measuring equipment, a laser level, and a masterclass in the use of the equipment as well as wi-fi equipment. The winning team members will have the option of taking a CIF scholarship or access to an apprenticeship programme if they do decide to take a construction-related career route in their future.

This programme was developed by ‘Class Of Your Own’ led by CEO Alison Watson MBE in collaboration with TUI, the TechnoTeachers Association Ireland, the Engineering Technology Teachers Association and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. This programme is designed to complement current teaching and career guidance principles.

“We want to commend all the schools that entered.  We are delighted for Castleisland Community College who are the first recipient of this award,” said Frank Kelly, President of the CIF. “While the standard across all the entries was exceptional, and the judging process was very challenging. The mix of innovation, sustainability and the vision was inspirational. We look forward to creating the virtual model and share this with the public. We would encourage schools to contact the CIF to find out more about careers in construction.”

Speaking at the event, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD said, “Given the critical importance of the construction sector in Ireland, we want to inspire the next generation to get involved and to bring their innovative ideas for good quality, affordable, sustainable housing to the sector. It’s crucially important that young men and women see the construction industry as a viable career choice and competitions such as this one clearly demonstrates the CIF’s commitment to making that a reality. I’d like to personally thank all of the students and their teachers who engaged with this competition and put so much effort into it.”

Teresa Lonergan, Principal, Castleisland Community College, said: “This competition has created a sense of awareness amongst our student population – an awareness of the many challenges our society faces today such as Climate change, the housing crisis, how to live sustainable among others which also ties in with our school’s sustainability strategy. Even the title of the project ‘No man is an Island’ ties in very much with our schools’ vision where the sense of community and teamwork plays a huge role in everything we do here in school.”