As part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), 29 students from the Castleford area took part in an exciting project co-delivered by Go Higher West Yorkshire and national house builders Keepmoat Homes. The students, who were selected from Castleford Academy and Airedale Academy, worked with both student and industry ambassadors to explore different elements of the construction and housebuilding industry. Speaking of Keepmoat Homes’ involvement in the project, Social and Economic Manager Sarah Hopkinson said, “A big part of our offer is that we engage with the communities in which we work, and this project gives us the opportunity to help local students develop the skills that employers are looking for. We’re also hoping to provide the young people with skills that fit in with the Keepmoat Homes ethos, such as being passionate, creative and collaborative.”
Throughout a series of classroom sessions, students worked in teams to create their own housing company, using a set of bespoke resources to explore how they might develop, build and sell a housing development. As well as thinking about essentials such as costings and materials, the teams also enjoyed creating mood boards to showcase their own ideas for show home decoration.
In addition to these technical sessions, the students had the opportunity to visit a current Keepmoat Homes housing development in their local area, enjoying an exciting and informative tour of the Aurora site on Flass Lane. The Keepmoat Homes Site Manager showed the students each stage of the building process, from the foundations to the show homes, and the group were able to ask site workers questions about their roles and responsibilities and see demonstrations of site equipment.
Using the knowledge gained on the site visit and in school sessions, the students moved on to develop a presentation about their housing companies, outlining their journey throughout the project and explaining the choices they’d made about their own housing developments. The project culminated in a brilliant presentation evening at the Wakefield College University Centre, where the students’ families were invited along to see the fantastic work that their young people had been developing. Each group presented their ideas to a packed out lecture theatre, and the audience enjoyed an insightful question and answer session with industry professionals from Leeds College of Building and Keepmoat Homes.
During the post-project evaluation, the students reflected on their successes throughout the experience and spoke of developing both their confidence and relationships with students from a different school. There was a sense of real pride in the room, and it was evident that some great cross-school friendships had been forged throughout the project!
Feedback from staff and parents was also excellent, with all agreeing that the project and presentation evening had been a huge success. Speaking on the night, Airedale Academy’s Assistant Principal Tim-Tim Chambers said, “It has been great to see the result of the collaboration between Airedale Academy, Castleford Academy, NCOP and Keepmoat. The pupils had clearly not only enjoyed working on the project but had got such a lot out of it; they mentioned confidence building, teamwork, skills development, creativity to name but a few. The location was fabulous and to see the pupils present their work to so many people was amazing. All but two pupils came and the vast majority had parents and families with them. There was such a buzz about the place!”
Castleford Academy’s Higher Education Progression Officer, Sally Martin, was one of the key staff members who supported the project right the way through. Speaking of the experience, she said, “The project and presentation event have been great, and the parents who attended tonight were so pleased to see the work of their young people.”
Filming took place throughout the duration of the project and can be seen below:
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