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Sep 9, 2015 6:26 EDT

City Builders: focused on making sure that talented young people have access to the built environment professions whatever their backgrounds

iCrowdNewswire - Sep 9, 2015

City Builders

MADE’s City Builder programme is focused on making sure that talented young people have access to the built environment professions whatever their backgrounds.

Our three distinct activities – academies, expeditions and mentoring offer complimentary opportunities for young people to explore careers in the built environment in an exciting and engaging way.

MADE has over a decade of experience in offering educational activities related to the built environment. Our extensive network of passionate professionals means we can mobilise the goodwill, energy and talent of the industry to offer unique out of the classroom experiences.

Alongside increasing awareness of careers our programme helps young people develop their design, teamwork, problem solving and presentation skills and build confidence. Through talks, visits, workshops, challenges, tours and more City Builders raises their aspirations and motivation to gain the qualifications and experience they need.


What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?

The built environment is created and managed by a wide range of professions. Professions that mirror the diversity of the society they serve have a much greater chance of creating a built environment that suits society.

At present barriers to true equality of access to and working within the professions still exist – be it inhibitive course lengths and fees, underrepresentation of key groups of people, lack of role models or issues around perception of some professions.

In addition to these important arguments about greater social equity and better quality design resulting from an industry that reflects the communities it serves, the built environment professions need to attract and retain all the talent they can. Reports of skills crunches_  with 72% of employers from the built environment sector warning that company growth would be held back due to a lack of available skills when skilled workers retire serve to highlight the need.

More generally there is debate around the quality of careers guidance young people are receiving – recent headlines in the educational press have called for urgent improvement of careers services.  The National Careers Council, which has been investigating the current state of careers provision, highlights a lack of consistency and availability and “massive variations” in the advice available, depending on where young people live, warning too many youngsters do not get the advice they need about work.

Can you give us some statistics on this problem?

In the UK economy, women make up around 50% of the workforce. However women still only represent around 13% (approx 182,000) of the construction industry in 2012-13. This figure was around 10% in 2005. Further figures suggest that of the 13% around 4% are doing design/management jobs, with the majority being in secretarial work, at around 84%. Latest figures suggest around 20% of RIBA members are women

Additionally figure show even though BME students are choosing to study built environment subjects, the industry is still not attracting them into employment at the same rate as their white colleagues. Regardless of having enough initial interest to study a built environment subject, at the end of their studies more BME students take up employment in other sectors.

What is your solution?

MADE’s work with young people is focused on making sure that talented young people in the West Midlands have access to the built environment professions whatever their backgrounds.  City Builders is designed to widen participation in all built environment careers and is specifically targeted at underrepresented groups and those from a hard to reach background.  

Our City Builder programme targets hard-to-reach and underrepresented groups. We know schools need support to advise young people about the built environment professions (some teachers in disadvantaged areas tell us that architecture, planning, civil engineering, etc., never come up as career options) and move away from channelling disadvantaged students down a practical/technical route of ‘construction’ rather than a professional/creative one and overall to raise their aspirations and giving them the support to do so.

How will you deliver this?

Our programme combines intensive 5 day City Builder Academies (visits and tours with a design project and presentations from a wide range of professionals) with shorter City Builder Expeditions  (visits or workshops explore a particular place, profession or topic) and finally City Builder Mentoring  (volunteer professional mentors offer 6 one to one sessions to provide advice and coaching).  Through participation in these complimentary programmes the young people can develop and explore their interest in and understanding of the environment, arts, engineering and more though the built environment professions.  They gain important life skills: confidence, communication, team-work. Their aspirations are raised. They get a broader and more accurate view of career options and are inspired to succeed academically by being able to visualise clear routes to rewarding jobs.  Importantly too they are inspired to engage with – and seek to understand – the designed environment around them promoting active citizenship


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