Scheme inspires future buildings experts

School pupils are to gain key skills needed by construction industry professionals in an initiative aimed at boosting recruitment in the sector.

The University of Edinburgh and leading infrastructure company Balfour Beatty are co-funding a learning programme that aims to inspire the next generation of specialists working in design, engineering and the built environment.

Pupils at an Edinburgh secondary school, which launched the initiative in September, will take subjects including maths, science and technology while learning about the latest practices demanded by the construction industry.

Skills boost

Students at Castlebrae High School will acquire real-world, practical experience and employability skills as a key part of the course, which brings industry professionals into the classroom to support teachers.

The Design Engineer Construct! Programme – known as DEC! – is a learning programme with qualifications credit rated for inclusion on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and supported by the Chartered Institute of Building and other professional bodies. 

It is part of the Adopt a School scheme that has been developed by Class of Your Own, an award-winning consultancy focusing on built environment education.

We are delighted to support a 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 pupils at Castlebrae to apply to study courses such as Civil and Structural Engineering at university.

Gary JebbDirector of Estates at the University of Edinburgh


Castlebrae High School has been chosen because of its proximity to the BioQuarter campus at Little France where Balfour Beatty is building a stem cell research facility, the Centre for Tissue Repair. 

Together with the University’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine, the buildings will form the new Institute for Regeneration and Repair which, when completed in 2020, will be home to more than 600 researchers.

The DEC! programme builds on existing links between the University and Castlebrae High School in which researchers at the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine have helped to develop science learning in the school.


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 we are able to provide Castlebrae pupils with the opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom and on to a construction site.

Joseph DruganCommunity Benefits Advisor at Balfour Beatty

Related links

Design Engineer Construct! Programme

Castlebrae Community High School

University of Edinburgh Estates

Balfour Beatty