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Teaching scheme at BioQuarter aims to inspire buildings specialists of the future

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.

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 accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and supported by the Chartered Institute of Building. 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.

Castlebrae High School has been chosen because of its proximity to Edinburgh BioQuarter campus 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.

Gary Jebb, Director of Estates at the University of Edinburgh, said: “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.”

Joseph Drugan, Community Benefits Advisor at 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 we are able to provide Castlebrae pupils with the opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom and on to a construction site.”

Construction starts on University of Edinburgh's latest BioQuarter facility

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