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Yet again we’re worrying about skills shortages. Talks and career fairs are not the

answer, says Kristina Smith.


The recent ‘A’ level and GCSE results

triggered a raft of stories in the

construction press about skills

shortages and a lack of women in

the industry. These stories aren’t

new. I’ve been writing variations

on that theme for the past 20 years

and remember campaigns from

organisation such as WISE (women

into science and engineering) that

date back far beyond that.

As an industry which is fuelled by

inspiration, communication and

problem solving, we should be able

to come up with some innovative

ways to engage with the next

generation. Talks at assemblies or

the odd career fair just aren’t going

to do it.

Thankfully some people have

already done the hard thinking for

us. Organisations such as A Class of

Your Own, which has devised the

Design Engineer Construct! (DEC!)

programme, and SATRO with its

mobile classrooms for teaching

trades deserve our attention and


Class of Your Own is a social

business, set up by land surveyor

Alison Watson and architect Dan

Gibson in 2009. Its goal was to

provide workshops which inspired

students, teachers and parents

about careers in architecture,

engineering and construction.

From 2012 Class of Your Own has

been providing a fully-accredited

DEC! curriculum to secondary

What schools really need

September 2015

Issue 38