KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dozens of local high school students spent the day in hard hats working with hammers and screwdrivers for the second annual construction trades competition at the Jacob Building in Knoxville.

14 different schools participated in the build put on by the builders’ exchange of Tennessee.

Students skilled in carpentry, electrical and plumbing broke out into teams and were judged in several categories including efficiency, safety and neatness.

The president of BXTN says students are not just building, they’re building careers.

“We wanted to get their skills to the next level not just in a high school atmosphere but let’s put them in a real-world environment and have a competition with a deadline,” said Ray Sexton, vice president of BXTN.

Sexton says competitors got more “real-world” experience being partnered with students from different schools because it reflects a real construction site.

He says you don’t initially know a lot of people working the same build as you.

The construction trade instructor at Halls High School believes his students are getting a leg-up and he hopes they take advantage of the opportunity.

“If they could just focus just a little, but on their careers and maybe leave all the other stuff of the world and get that focus on a career the opportunities are endless,” Jeff McMurray, construction trades instructor at Halls High School.  

BXTN also invited recruiters looking for future employees to the event.