TEENAGERS have shown professional construction companies the way forward after producing winning designs for a redundant cement works site.

Students from five schools were set the task of launching their own construction company and designing an alternative use for the former Blue Circle Cement Works in Eastgate, Weardale.

It is the second year that the competition set by Bishop Auckland construction company M&M Plasline and the Construction Industry Training Board has run.

The five schools which took part were Sunnydale School, Shildon; Wolsingham School and Community College; St John's RC Comprehensive School, King James I Community College and Bishop Barrington Comprehensive School, all in Bishop Auckland.

The popular choice for the Eastgate location was to develop a holiday village complete with leisure facilities and tourist attractions.

The winners were announced at a ceremony in Auckland Castle last week with proud students from St John's RC Comprehensive clinching the title.

Headteacher Gerard Moran said: "It is tremendous. I am very proud of them. They have worked very hard as a whole team and this is well deserved.''

The young entrepreneurs were awarded with their prize by Bishop Auckland MP Derek Foster who praised the standard of work.

He said: "Some of the projects are breathtaking in scope and imagination. There is a lot of talent here.''

John Straughan from M&M Plasline said he was proud of the Construction Challenge which has now become an annual event.

He said: "It has always been a pleasure to be associated with this and to see these young people enjoy the task set is fantastic."