New Scheme Supporter – Class of Your own – inspiring the next generation of construction professionals

With the industry facing a huge shortfall of new workers, it has never been more important to inspire the next generation of schoolchildren, and their teachers, into construction – and this is exactly what Class of Your Own (COYO) is doing.

COYO is a not for profit social business that delivers the innovative and industry respected Design Engineer Construct! (DEC) Learning Programme aimed at children and young people between the ages of 11-18.

Outlining the course, Tim said: “The programme commenced in 2012 following a period of curriculum development by the founder Alison Watson MBE, who saw a gap in schools’ appreciation of the built environment, its diversity, use of technology and impact on society – often overlooked outside of the sector.

“Since then the programme has been developed to provide fully accredited Level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5, and is widely recognised across industry and academia.

“The programme is now included in some 80 schools across England and Scotland, and most importantly each school is supported by industry partners through the ‘Adopt a School’ approach. Many of our industry supporters are also members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme.”

In April 2018 COYO became a Scheme Supporter – this unique type of Scheme partnership was introduced in 2012 to formalise the relationship between the Scheme and other construction industry bodies. This collaboration enables the Scheme to work closely with organisations such as COYO to promote best practice across the built industry.

Extending its reach

Tim said: “COYO hopes that by being a Scheme Supporter we can raise the profile of DEC within Scheme membership and reach out to organisations that recognise the need to develop talent.

“These students can become the next generation of digital built environment professionals, securing the best of this talent for the sector and achieving a tremendous, long-lasting and sustainable legacy within their communities.

“Our recent work around social value with respected research partners provides an initial calculation of a Social Return of Investment of up to £4.50 for every £1 spent, far outstripping sector norms.”

Promoting the Scheme

COYO’s work in schools naturally takes them into communities across the UK, and in each of these areas, Scheme-registered sites, companies and suppliers will be undertaking infrastructure and building works – an area they wish to connect with.

Tim said: “We hope to collaborate with the Scheme Monitors, Scheme members and local communities to drive DEC into more regions and more schools.

The impact of the learning outcomes and transformative effect, not only on the students but also the teachers themselves, and more broadly the schools, is a good news story worth sharing much more with all associated in the industry including suppliers, manufacturers, designers and supply chains.

“The education sector directly benefits from this partnership as our mission is to work directly with teachers and students. Our aim is to work with schools to deliver DEC and thereby contribute to developing and growing talent on the doorstep.”

A collaborative approach

Tim believes the Scheme improves the image of the industry through encouraging its registered organisations to reflect on their activities, within the context of the local community.

“The Scheme can help and support our mission through outreach and promotion, particularly during the early stages of the project when it can have the greatest impact,” he said.

“We also need to reach into supply chains and through associates to identify experts with a wide range of skills and disciplines and job roles such as quantity surveying through to construction management, landscape architecture and facilities management.”