Design Engineer Construct! now approved for schools in England, Scotland and Wales x

What is DEC?

Inspiring a new generation of Built Environment professionals

DEC Difference | Classroom to Career | Who We Are

DEC! PartnersDesign Engineer Construct!® (DEC) is an accredited learning programme for secondary-school age students and has been expertly developed to create and inspire the next generation of Built Environment professionals. Through a project-based approach, DEC applies pure academic subjects to the latest construction industry practices.

The result is young people with real-world practical experience and employability skills.

There is little understanding of Built Environment professions and few young people aspire to a career in this important sector of the British and global economy. By getting involved with DEC schools and industry can educate the future of construction and change the lives of young people.

Thanks to the extraordinary support of industry leaders, professional bodies and progressive universities, DEC delivers an inspiring programme that is up to date and in demand by the very people who will employ our children.

COYO Adopt a school factsheet download

DEC Difference – a project based approach to learning

DEC offers a new and innovative project based approach to learning that is both challenging and rewarding. By working their way through an online workbook, learners will develop knowledge and skills by undertaking a sustainable building project and, through the complementary workshops, have guaranteed face to face engagement with industry professionals.

There are many opportunities for cross curricular learning including explicit opportunities for Maths, English and Science as well as for other aspects of the wider curriculum such as Citizenship and PHSE.

DEC! Online workbook

Design an Eco Classroom – a STEM focused Enterprise Day As a fundamental part of the curriculum programme, students undertake workshops led by industry professionals. The Eco Classroom workshop is a fun day. Students take on the roles and responsibilities of a Building Design company to create a standalone Eco Classroom for their local community and for school use.

Classroom to Career – transferable skills

To embark on a successful professional or technical career in the Built Environment, employers across the sector are clear that certain generic skills are essential. DEC offers all learners embedded opportunities to become Independent Enquirers, Creative Thinkers, Reflective Learners, Team Workers, Self Managers and Effective Participants.

Learning in context Integral to the activities within the DEC programme is an understanding of number and a requirement for good standards of literacy. Embedded within the learning tasks are opportunities to explore the need for mathematical knowledge by understanding how it is applied in the world of work.

Similarly, literacy skills are enhanced by integrated opportunities to prepare reports, presentations, feedback – oral and written, and other types of language based outcomes many of which are presented to industry specialists. DEC also enables learners to explore some of the key themes that challenge society in general through particular examples and projects within the built environment sector.

Themes within the programme • Sustainability and the environment • Design thinking • Materials and their properties • Project management


Who we are

Class of Your Own Limited has been delivering one day workshops and other built environment student engagement programmes to schools/colleges since 2009 and, from September 2012, the full and accredited DEC curriculum and learning programme. We are a Social Business, with social purpose objects and restriction on distribution of profits being entrenched in our governing documents.

Our aim is the achievement of our vision and mission through the delivery of the DEC curriculum, with corresponding increased positive social outcomes. We work in partnership and collaboration with schools, government and industry organisations to this effect.

Our Vision
Inspiring all young people to reach their full potential through world class education and opportunity.

Our Mission
To develop innovative, contextualised approaches to teaching and learning, enable young people from all backgrounds to explore aspirational career pathways, and establish sustainable relationships between education and industry to provide a world of opportunity for young people.

Where it all began…

Land Surveyor Alison Watson and Architect Dan Gibson set up Class Of Your Own Limited in May 2009 to provide hands on workshops and a dedicated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) focussed creative curriculum. Our aim was to encourage students, teachers and parents to recognise careers in Architecture, Engineering and Construction as highly skilled opportunities, and wholly relevant to future employment prospects. After an inspiring workshop with a group of absolutely brilliant secondary school students, we had a rather life changing “what if?” moment, the catalyst for Design Engineer Construct!® the most innovative, challenging and relevant secondary school curriculum development in recent years.

What if…

  • we could harness the enthusiasm we had seen that day and offer the students a long term project with more detailed content and defined outcomes?
  • this project could be a cross-curricular, multi-disciplinary, broad introduction into the built environment with sustainable, low energy design at its core?
  • we could fully unlock the educational possibilities and learning potential within large scale construction projects taking place nearby or even within their school?
  • we could give students a real insight into the processes, disciplines and personalities involved in these projects and enable them to appreciate the professional careers that exist within our industry?
  • we could give them the knowledge, skills and most importantly, a “blank canvas” that would enable all students, regardless of ability, to explore and build their own ideas from scratch?
  • we could give them the know-how to harness industry leading BIM technology, cutting edge software AND hardware as tools to realise their ideas?
  • collaborative working, shared learning and best practice could become second nature from the age of 11?
  • we could connect students with local industry professionals who could act as mentors during their project and build long term relationships with the school?
  • we could offer them a formal qualification before they even reach GCSE options stage that provided a foundation for further exploration and  continued learning?
  • we could use this foundation as a platform to offer routes into a range of professional apprenticeship programmes with global companies, vocational training and real work experience?
  • through this process we could begin to address the demographic time bomb that is resulting in a growing skills gap in UK educated construction professionals?
  • EVERY student that followed the curriculum through to the age of 18 was given access to real opportunities to follow a career in the built environment with a network of world leading organisations?
  • regardless of their chosen career path we could just help them to “think like engineers”, develop problem solving skills and see the world a little differently?
  • we could create a brand new educational programme to do ALL of these things?
© Class of Your Own Limited. All rights reserved.

COYO is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff, and others providing services on behalf of COYO, to share this commitment

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