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Cardiff Metropolitan University student scoops prestigious innovation award



​Geoff Hughes, James Whelan, Alan Cairns and Professor Brian Morgan

​A Leadership and Management student at Cardiff Metropolitan University is celebrating winning the prestigious Welsh Livery Guild's Innovation Travel Scholarship 2016.

James Whelan, who runs his own Housing and Project Management Consultancy, JW Partnership and co-founded Keeble Whelan Integrated Construction (KWIC), is studying on the Construction Futures Wales Leadership Programme.

James, who is hoping to achieve a CMI Level 7 and Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership, was presented with the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales prestigious Travel Bursary of £1,000 and a certificate by The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales at The Forum Annual Lecture at Cardiff School of Management.

The Welsh Livery Guild Innovation Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated that they will use the award for the benefit of people in Wales and who will make a valuable contribution to either the arts, science or technology.

31-year-old James, from Radyr in Cardiff, is passionate about the provision of affordable housing in Wales and his work was recommended for the award by the Innovation Department at the University. James has spent the past 18 months gaining further leadership experience through his studies at Cardiff Met and also growing his knowledge of the housing sector and its skills shortages.

His work has identified time and cost as key factors in house building, with "lean developed" prefabrication a potential solution to solve Britain's housing crisis. It is believed that offsite prefabricated construction presents a huge opportunity to increase the UK housing supply and the more innovation involved in the development of this concept, the better.

James will use his £1,000 Travel Bursary to take his learning further by undertaking an investigation into prefabrication abroad.

Speaking about his work, James said: "As part of KWIC I have been looking at numerous examples of good practice in affordable housing and integrated construction across the UK including local Welsh businesses such as GB-Sol and Affresol, both green technology businesses based in Wales.

"I would like to visit German manufacturing companies who specialise in this field, and are steps ahead of Wales and the UK in this area. I'm looking to create an affordable housing template and learn and gather inspiration from these companies in Germany bringing the knowledge back to improve affordable housing in Wales."

Speaking about the award, Geoff Hughes, Chairman of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales said: "This was a good example of the close links between Cardiff Metropolitan and The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales in encouraging and promoting the skills and talents of the young people of Wales."