School pupils to be taught construction skills

Written by Gemma Fraser on 5 February 2019 in News

It is hoped the programme will inspire the next generation of specialists and boost recruitment in the construction industry

Tower assembly training - Balfour Beatty

School pupils in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived communities are to be taught construction skills in an initiative aimed at boosting recruitment in the sector.

Infrastructure company Balfour Beatty is co-funding a project with the University of Edinburgh that aims to inspire the next generation of specialists working in design, engineering and the built environment.

Pupils at Castlebrae Community High School in Craigmillar will take subjects including maths, science and technology while learning about the latest practices demanded by the construction industry.

The pupils on the programme will acquire real-world, practical experience and employability skills as a key part of the course, which brings industry professionals into the classroom to support teachers.

The Design Engineer Construct! Programme – known as DEC! – is a learning programme accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and supported by the Chartered Institute of Building.

It is part of the Adopt a School scheme that has been developed by Class of Your Own, an award-winning consultancy focusing on built environment education.

Castlebrae was chosen because of its proximity to the university’s BioQuarter campus at Little France where Balfour Beatty is building a stem cell research facility, the Centre for Tissue Repair. 

Together with the university’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine, the buildings will form the new Institute for Regeneration and Repair which, when completed in 2020, will be home to more than 600 researchers.

The DEC! programme builds on existing links between the university and Castlebrae in which researchers at the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine have helped to develop science learning in the school.

Gary Jebb, director of estates at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to support a school engagement programme that will inspire children to think like engineers, raise awareness of the range of jobs available and provide real world practical experience.

“It’s the first time we have supported the DEC! scheme and we are hopeful that it will encourage pupils at Castlebrae to apply to study courses such as civil and structural engineering at university.”

Joseph Drugan, community benefits advisor at Balfour Beatty, added: “DEC! is a fantastic resource which runs alongside the national curriculum to provide pupils and teachers alike with an engaging, stimulating learning experience.

“We have supported DEC! across numerous schools in Scotland, and feedback is consistently positive. Due to the proximity of our site we are able to provide Castlebrae pupils with the opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom and on to a construction site.”



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