Funding DEC! at Castlebrae High School

The University of Edinburgh and Balfour Beatty are co-funding a learning programme at Castlebrae High School which aims to create and inspire the next generation of Built Environment professionals.

The ‘Adopt a School’ scheme has been developed by Class of Your Own, creators of the Design Engineer Construct (DEC!) programme, to encourage young people to learn about the Built Environment. The scheme enables construction industry members to “gift” the DEC! learning programme to schools across the UK. 

DEC! is an accredited learning programme for secondary-school age students. Through a project-based approach, DEC! applies pure academic subjects such as maths, to the latest construction industry practices offering young people real-world practical experience and employability skills through a course they study at school. It brings industry professionals into the classroom to support teachers in the delivery of the courses, providing teachers and their pupils with the skills and knowledge for a 21st century digital industry.

Gary Jebb, Director of Estates said: “The Built Environment has a wide range of careers open to young people. It is an important sector of the British and global economy and we are delighted to be able to support a secondary school engagement programme that will inspire children to think like engineers, raise awareness of the range of jobs available and provide real world practical experience.

"It’s the first time we have supported the DEC scheme and we are hopeful that it will encourage school children at Castlebrae to apply to study courses such as Civil and Structural Engineering at University.”

The DEC! learning programme will be run at Castlebrae High School due to its proximity to the University’s BioQuarter campus at Little France where construction company Balfour Beatty are currently building a stem cell research centre, the Centre for Tissue Repair. Together with the existing Centre for Regenerative Medicine the buildings will form the University’s new Institute for Regeneration and Repair which when completed in 2020 will be home to over 600 researchers. 

The DEC! programme will build on existing links between the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Castlebrae High School to develop science learning in the school. Castlebrae pupil, Kelsey Wallace, gained valuable work experience in the Centre and broke ground for the new building alongside Centre Director, Professor Stuart Forbes. 

Joseph Drugan, Community Benefits Advisor, Balfour Beatty said: “DEC! Is a fantastic resource which runs alongside the national curriculum to provide pupils and teachers alike with an engaging, stimulating learning experience. 

“We have supported DEC! across numerous schools in Scotland,  and feedback is consistently positive. Due to the proximity of our site at the University’s BioQuarter we will be able to provide Castlebrae school children with the opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom and onto a construction site.”

Delivery of the programme at Castlebrae High School benefits the local community by inspiring school children to consider a career in the Built Environment and give them the necessary qualifications to do so. Funding from the University has been secured via its community engagement/widening participation fund.

February 2019