Learning Programme Update

Monday 23 July 2018

London Real Estate Forum Schools Day © Bar Productions

2017-18 has been an extremely busy and successful one for the NLA and The City Centre Learning programme. Through the generous support of The Sackler Trust our schools programme has reached a total of 2,379 pupils from 59 schools this academic year. These groups have engaged in our model talks, taught sessions, workshops, tours and bespoke careers projects run across NLA, The City Centre, Schools Outreach and the London Real Estate Forum.

The year has been full of highlights where we have been continually impressed by the many talents of the students we have worked with. Teachers have consistently rated our sessions as excellent, praising them for engaging hands-on activities and our provision of new insights into built environment careers for their pupils. 

In the winter term 2018 we completed several regeneration focused projects including a trip for year 10 Geography GCSE students from Eastlea School in Newham. Working with 15 Billion EPP, a local careers education charity, we taught a geography lesson in school using the London’s Towns research to introduce pupils to the concept of polycentric cities. The next day, on a visit to NLA, students used this knowledge to respond to a design brief to re-configure Ballymore’s masterplan of Royal Wharf, working with a volunteer planner from their team. One pupil, Ikem, gave us some particularly positive feedback:

‘Honestly I thought this was just going to be like any other trip… But I came, I heard about surveyors, surveying, but it sounded really interesting, so I was planning on asking questions about what I need to study to become a surveyor, so I would say this trip is literally going to change my future’.

In February we worked with volunteers from Enfield Council’s regeneration team on a design day for year 8 at Heron Hall Academy, who came up with ideas for how to improve their own town centre - Ponders End High Street. These ideas will be used by the council as part of their consultation process for the area. Andrew King, Principal Planning Officer for Neighbourhood Regeneration, said:

‘NLA were very astute on how to communicate urban design challenges and concomitant career opportunities – this was reflected in the excellent design intervention proposals submitted by the students’. 

In March and April we completed a bespoke schools engagement project for Goldman Sachs’ new development in the City of London, working with 45 pupils from three schools who each attended a design workshop day at their offices. Working with a range of volunteer mentors, pooled from the scheme’s sub-contractors, students were asked how they would design the workspace of the future. The winning designs from all three groups then went forward to a second workshop day in June where pupils worked with artist Daniel Curtis to create professional architectural models of their final ideas.

In June the LREF community day was a fantastic moment as we took advantage of the many relationships we’ve built up with schools over the last academic year to welcome a diverse audience of 150 London school pupils to the event for the first time. Students who attended heard many positive messages about the construction industry from keynote speaker, founder of Berkeley Group, Tony Pidgely. Alongside a careers conference pupils also took part in speed-networking, facilitated by Gardiner and Theobald, and tours of the exhibition led by volunteers from the LREF exhibitors. 

One teacher tweeted:  

‘Today I took 20 year 10 students to the schools preview of LREF 2018 and opened their eyes to where geography could take them in terms of a career in the built environment. Thanks NLA for another amazing opportunity for our students.’

This term we have been working with Mulberry UTC on a 13 week careers challenge project culminated in them presenting their own designs for a community space on Roman Road to a panel of industry judges. Students were given a crash course in careers in the built environment in a bespoke course that encompassed design workshops, tours, careers talks, and visits to both The City Centre and NLA. Not only were these young people exposed in depth to the built environment of their own area, learning about planning and consultation processes along the way, they also worked on key transferable skills such as team work and public speaking. 

Our programmes rely on the generous support of our sponsors and partners. Special thanks is due to The Building Centre, Make, Gardiner and Theobald, FCB Studios and The Library and Information Association for kindly hosting our NLA workshops in their offices. We are also extremely grateful to the NLA members who have contributed to our programme through their staff volunteering to give careers talks, attend workshops and provide interesting content for our sessions based on their work. This year we have worked with PDP London, The City of London Corporation, AECOM, Sustrans and Sir Robert McApline among many other industry contributors.

Over the summer the Learning team will continue to be busy running our extra-curricular Summer Design Academy for 16-18 year olds which is generously supported by Learning Programme Champion BLP Insurance. 

By Lettie McKie, Head of Learning, NLA

Click here to find out more about the NLA Learning Programme

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