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De Lacy Academy students explore the construction industry in partnership with ENGIE

After the success of last year’s GHWY construction project, it was students from De Lacy Academy who had the opportunity to take part in this year’s project, this time in partnership with ENGIE. Spanning a three-month period, the Year 9 students took part in an exciting range of workshops covering topics such as the Construction and Built Environment sector, costings and budgets for large scale housing projects and interior design. A highlight of the project was a visit to not one but two active construction sites, with students having the opportunity to explore show homes, meet industry professionals and see demonstrations of construction equipment. A pit-stop for a roast dinner also added to everybody’s enjoyment of the day!

Representatives from ENGIE assisted students throughout their journey, with Wakefield Council also playing a major supporting role. Students split into teams and assigned roles to themselves, using their personal strengths to allocate team members to a variety of roles such as Project Manager and Managing Director. With the help of ENGIE and Wakefield Council representatives, the teams then faced the challenge of choosing a company name as well as a name for their housing development, followed by in-depth designs for their development’s show homes and an extensive rationale for their budgeting and design decisions.

The project culminated in an exciting evening of presentations at the Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre at Wakefield College. Parents were invited along to see the teams present their ideas, and students were presented with certificates based on skills and strengths they had demonstrated throughout the project. There was also an engaging question and answer session with ENGIE role models Adam Shakespeare and Lisa Bradford, giving students and visitors alike an insight into the possibilities and opportunities with the construction industry.

Sarah Hopkinson, Social Value Manager for ENGIE, was a key contributor to the project from day one. “This project was ideal for hitting our remit of working with schools and raising levels of employability and skills in young people,” Sarah said. “Young people had the opportunity to learn about our industry and sector, and to learn those skills that aren’t necessarily taught in schools. I think this project is really important for young people because it gives them the opportunity to develop and grow, to be creative, learn new skills and apply what they’ve learned in school to a business setting. Engagement of this type really is talent picking for us, and allows us to identify talent who could join our workforce in years to come.”

Student feedback on the project was overwhelmingly positive, with particular highlights being the site visit and interior design activities. “During this project I have learned a lot,” said De Lacy Academy student Ben. “I’ve learned how to market things a lot better, and why it’s so important to work with a range of skills. My highlight of this project was when we went to the actual site because we got to see everything in action.”