Young people across South West being asked to design their dream house

IKB Academy in Bristol involved in the Adopt a School construction skills programme

Teenagers across the region are being given the opportunity to design their ideal home and place to live.

It is part of a new Adopt a School competition launched by Constructing Excellence South West (CESW). The contest will see pupils aged 13 and 14 working alongside partner companies to outline a proposal for a home as part of a development of 25 houses on a brownfield site.

The best team submissions will then be invited to a South West regional final where an overall winning proposal will be selected.

Emma Hannam, CESW ‘Adopt a School’ Coordinator said the aim of the competition is ‘twofold’.

“It tasks students to think creatively about one of the biggest challenges the housing sector faces – providing sustainable high-quality housing that’s fit for the future – while also introducing school age children to the range of career opportunities the built environment offers them,” she said.

“The skills shortage looms large over the UK construction industry. We have an ageing workforce and with fewer young people than ever opting to pursue a career in construction. That means we are struggling to recruit new talent into the industry to replace those retiring, never mind fill the anticipated 158,000 new jobs that will be created over the next few years.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to make sure we’re helping young people in school see the value of a pursuing a career in construction, and directly challenge some of the stereotypes often held. So, this competition has been designed to do just that. Ultimately we hope it will inspire youngsters to explore the path to a rewarding career in construction.”

The competition builds on the success of CESW’s established ‘Adopt a School’ campaign which launched in 2014 as a vehicle to promote the construction industry as an aspirational career choice for young people and improve its image.

Since then, more than 50 schools from across the South West have ‘buddied-up’ with construction-related companies including Kier, Willmott Dixon, Campbell Reith, Acorn Blue and SW Highways, enabling students to take part in school-based events including career fairs, site visits, and talks.

Final entries must define the scheme layout, provide a schedule of areas showing approximate total site area in hectares, building footprint and total floor areas in m2, and show how the proposed site relates to its surrounding area. They must also demonstrate how the scheme proposed addresses a range of economic, environmental and community issues right through from initial design, planning and construction to occupation.

Debbie Gibbs, principal of IKB Academy, in Bristol, said: “It is really important for us to collaborate with local employers in the STEM sector. The Adopt a School programme is a great way to make those links for the benefit of the students and the businesses that are involved.”

“More importantly the input of our partner companies to help students develop their competition entries will give them real-life contextual support which directly complements their studies – particularly human geography – and raises awareness about the sustainability agenda and how it will impact where and how they live.”

If you are a school or a business who would like to participate in the Adopt a School Campaign, please contact Emma Hannam, Adopt a School Coordinator emma.hannam@cesw.org.uk.