Three years in the making, COYO officially launches the “DEC Future Infrastructure Programme” with extraordinary former students

Pictured L-R with COYO Founder & CEO Alison Watson MBE (centre): Yuanhao Lei, Joe Toyne, Annabel Smith, Shakil Perera, Faye Fulton, Kieran Barton, Alizah Mughal, Ryan Gordon, Finley Skynner, Sanjiv Duelas, George Armytage, Wiktor Rauba and Kacper Kumor.

This evening, former Design Engineer Construct! students from schools across the UK returned to the offices of Bentley Systems to launch Class Of Your Own’s long-awaited ‘Future Infrastructure’ Programme.

The students, many of whom are now working or studying towards a career in industry, represented More House School (Farnham), Drummond Community High School (Edinburgh), King Ecgbert School (Sheffield) and Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School (West London). They were joined by their teachers and leading industry figures including:

  • Former UK Government Chief Construction Adviser Peter Hansford CBE
  • Rogers Stirk Harbour partner, Andrew Tyley
  • University of Cambridge Arup Professor John Miles
  • University of Cambridge Laing O’Rourke Professor Campbell Middleton
  • HS2 Director Ian Blight
  • Former President of the Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors
  • Topcon Positioning Systems VP Ian Stilgoe
  • Institution of Civil Engineers Regional Director Redha al Redha (Dubai)
  • Virgin Hyperloop Managing Director Harj Dhaliwal (Dubai)

Where it all began

Three years earlier, CEO Alison Watson MBE had asked exceptional DEC teachers to nominate sixth form students studying COYO’s existing learning programme to sign up for an extraordinary challenge – to design a Hyperloop station in their own cities with routes to London or Edinburgh.

Teams had to determine site locations and anticipated passenger numbers, investigate the social, environmental and economic impact of such a project and explore ideas to create the most sustainable and inclusive design. This initial study with young people enabled COYO to explore the limit to which young people could extend their learning and focus on very real solutions to major project challenges.

As usual, DEC Students did not disappoint! In April 2019, four teams were invited to the offices of Bentley Systems, London present their designs to leading infrastructure experts. There’s a reminder of what happened here:

COYO didn’t stop there.

After two years working with extraordinary people to develop the programme and make it accessible to the widest possible audience in a constantly changing education landscape, COYO took the decision to create an industry ‘endorsed’ award. Backed by globally recognised organisations, the award is available to young people globally, enabling them to undertake an exploratory research project that will still go through our rigorous moderation process, supported by COYO’s Awarding Organisation, TQUK.

Despite Covid, COYO has undertaken two more very successful pilots with Cronton College sixth form students. The programme gives traditional A level students who have little or no built environment and infrastructure awareness, a project that can help them kickstart their own knowledge and skills development for a modern, digital industry.

For more information about the Design Engineer Construct! Future Infrastructure Programme, contact

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