Stonebridge Cross in digital construction skills pilot

Liverpool school pupils are being encouraged to pursue a career in construction, through an initiative to support the design, engineering and build of the Stonebridge Cross housing development in Croxteth.

The Construction Innovation Hub at the University of Cambridge houses the Centre for Digital Built Britain, which focuses on disseminating techniques and best practice in digital building and infrastructure design, engineering and construction.

The hub is working with Class Of Your Own (COYO), a social business and education consultancy, to inform children and young people about careers in the design, construction and asset management industries and better equip them with skills they may need in the future.

Students are enrolled on COYO’s Design Engineer Construct! Learning Programme, an accredited learning programme that helps educate people in modern construction industry practices – particularly those involving digital technologies – and will take part in project-based work intended to teach them about the industry.

Under the programme, secondary school pupils across Liverpool will “reimagine [the planned] Stonebridge Cross in the not-too-distant future”, according to the Construction Innovation Hub.

Using advanced technology, they will design homes and transport links for the local community and explore renewable energy sources to power the residential development, which is being delivered by Liverpool City Council.

Their input will support and inform the evolution of the scheme prior to any plans for the site being produced and will be considered as part of the council’s wider work to engage local people.

Stonebridge Cross is a planned new-build affordable homes community in Croxteth that is being funded by government agency Homes England and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. It is intended to create a carbon-neutral community of modern, energy efficient homes and would be the biggest council-led housing development in the city for decades, according to Liverpool City Council.

Plans are at an early stage and the number of homes and other details have yet to be decided.

Alison Watson, chief executive of Class Of Your Own, said: “COYO is supporting Liverpool’s vision, aims and values for its communities. [The Stonebridge Cross initiative] puts young people in the driving seat of sustainable thinking, inclusive design, engineering problem-solving and digital construction.

“We hope that by showcasing this work that we can help to change perceptions among teachers, parents and children about careers in construction and excite them with the opportunities that the industry offers.”

A 2017 report by construction firm Kier, entitled Averting a £90bn GDP crisis: a report on the image and recruitment crisis facing the built environment, found that 73% of parents would not want their child to consider a career in construction and that 54% believed there is a lack of career progression and that the industry is associated with lower skilled workers.


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