The University of Wolverhampton helped local schoolgirls build on their knowledge of construction careers at an event held at the Black Country Living Museum recently.
The School of Architecture and Built Environment organised the event to highlight the variety of careers on offer for females in property and construction.
Sixty pupils attended from Joseph Leckie Academy (Walsall), RSA Academy (Tipton) Oldbury Academy, the West Midlands Construction University Technical College (Wolverhampton) and Pedmore Technology College (Stourbridge).
Ten teams of pupils aged between 14 and 19 competed to deliver on a live brief which was centred around a proposed redevelopment of the Black Country Living Museum’s Learning Centre including the conversion of the museum shop, Rolfe Street café, conference rooms and staff offices.
Paul Hampton, Head of Architecture and Built Environment at the University, said: “Our aim through events like these is to give girls some hands-on design experience with the added bonus of working on a real-life project.
“Following the brief, we gave them time to work together in groups to propose ideas for redesign; they had the opportunity to look at the space in the museum and we provided mentors to help them prepare a presentation based on the ideas they had for improvements.”
Patricia Sloneczny, Director of Quality and Human Resources at AR Demolition who was a guest speaker and mentor at the event, said: “There is a national aim to ensure that women will make up 26% of the construction workforce by 2020. Women are significantly under-represented in the construction industry but actually have a lot to offer.
“Events like these are useful to highlight the kinds of career opportunities that are available in the industry as well as showing the girls that working in construction isn’t all about building sites and factories.”
The individual groups presented their ideas to a panel of judges with the West Midlands Construction University Technical College and Joseph Leckie being highly commended for their ‘fun ideas and emphasis on sustainability’ as well as ‘focus on accessibility and attention to detail in relation to the space around the lift area’.
Pedmore Technology College picked up first prize for their ‘innovative design and the theme they had created for the dedicated learning space’.
Mel Weatherley, Head of Learning at the Black Country Living Museum, said: “The presentations and ideas were amazing. It was a huge job, and not an easy design brief, but we will certainly be looking at the ideas presented with a view to incorporating some of them into our redesign project when it gets off the ground.”
Sabeela Nassar, Year 11 student at Pedmore Technology College, said: “This was a really exciting project to work on. I had no idea of the opportunities available in this industry, and whilst I would like to study science subjects at a higher level, I am impressed with the diversity of roles in the construction industry and may consider a career like this in the future.”
Kate Hunter, Head of Design Technology & Business Enterprise at Pedmore Technology College, said: “I purposefully picked a group of students who have great communication skills and who work well in a team because that’s what today has all been about.
“Enrichment events like these are really important because it shows them what the real world is all about and expands their horizons, helping them to grow. It’s the second year in a row that Pedmore has won and I’m really pleased that the girls picked up first prize."
Main picture shows the team from Pedmore Technology College with their award and the two commended winners below (WMCUTC right and Joseph Leckie left).
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Date Issued: 11th July 2017