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Girls cast about for skills in the construction industry


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. 

Pupils attended from Smestow School, the West Midlands Construction University Technical College (Wolverhampton) and Pedmore Technology College (Stourbridge).  Mentors included Rosalind Thorpe, Associate Director for Education and Standards at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Christina Wallace, Senior Project Manager for HS2 and Patricia Sloneczny, Director of Quality and Human Resources at AR Demolition.

Five teams of pupils competed to deliver on a live brief which was centred around Black Country Living Museum’s development BCLM: Forging Ahead which will involve moving an existing historic building and relocating it in a new 1940s-60s town in the Museum.

The Cast Iron Houses are two semi-detached council houses built in Dudley in 1925 and pupils were asked to focus on accessibility, meeting health and safety regulations whilst at the same time maximising the immersive and sensory experience for visitors.

Dr 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 work together in groups to propose ideas for redesign; they had the opportunity to look closely at the Cast Iron Houses and we provided mentors to help them prepare a presentation based on the ideas they had for improvements.”

“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.”

Ros Thorpe, Associate Director – Education and Standards at Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), said: “I think our industry has never managed to overcome the image problem we have and it’s really important that we have to aggressively promote the range of professional and interesting careers in construction to young people.

“To do that we need to directly engage them directly, to get them physically engaged in doing something that reflects the range of exciting careers on offer, which is why events like this are so important.”

The individual groups presented their ideas to a panel of judges and Pedmore Technology College picked up first prize for their innovative ideas in relation to their focus on accessibility and an enhanced user experience. West Midlands Construction University Technical College were Highly Commended.

Anyone interested in studying Architecture and Built Environment should register for the next Open Day on Saturday 17th August 2019.

Pictures - top from left to right Ros Thorpe, CIOB, Christina Wallace, HS2 and Dr Paul Hampton, Head of Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton.  Bottom - the winning team from Pedmore Technology College.



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