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DEC and Industry

Heriot Watt University Mutual Benefit Report

DEC and Industry – inspiring the next generation

Adopt a School Scheme | Who can get involved? | Benefits | Support for DEC | DEC AdoptersGet involved with DEC

Design Engineer Construct!® provides a platform for industry to take the lead in bridging professional skills gaps and inspire thousands of children to “think like Engineers” by supporting their local schools.

This unique learning programme offers all organisations, irrespective of size, the chance to directly contribute relevance and context to learning in schools.

It provides an opportunity for genuine student engagement leading to recognised qualifications, resulting in a ‘home grown’ talent pipe of work ready, knowledgeable young professionals.

COYO Adopt a school factsheet download

COYO Adopt a School Scheme

The COYO Adopt a School scheme has been developed to address the serious lack of young British talent in the Built Environment.

It utilises the collective influence of industry and academia to provide a unique opportunity to work together and achieve maximum impact for minimum investment.

The scheme enables industry members to “gift” the Design Engineer Construct!® learning programme to schools across the UK.

Adopters commit to funding a minimum two-year programme of study providing recognised qualifications to hundreds of young learners.

YOU can get involved!

No matter how large or small your organisation is, you can get involved. You can apply as a single adopter, or as a consortium with other adopters.

Eco Classroom Workshops
If you’re an SME, there’s also a great opportunity to support our workshops. We’re always looking for active professionals including surveyors, architects, engineers, FMs and planning consultants to inspire the next generation.

The fact is, there’s room for everyone to raise the aspirations of young people, their parents and their schools, to consider the Construction Industry as a valuable, attractive proposition for future careers.

“Just to say how much I enjoyed the afternoon at the Clacton Academy and thank you for inviting me to judge. I was very impressed with how much the children had learnt and achieved in such a short time. This is a wonderful initiative and if we can help in the future please let me know.” Crispin Downs, Place Services

Benefits to Industry Adopters

  • The opportunity to offer a genuine student engagement programme leading to recognised qualifications, particularly where a live project is taking place
  • This is an industry led programme with the flexibility to span all professional disciplines offering full involvement to members and responsive to industry needs
  • Industry organisations, irrespective of size, have the ability to influence schools and the curriculum
  • Through the support of the organisations, schools will improve sector knowledge and enhance the quality of their teaching and assessment
  • Industry derived qualifications and support ensures that schools keep up with changes in technology and working practices
  • Provision of genuine corporate social responsibility through investment in the next generation of architecture, engineering and construction professionals
  • Excellent PR and Marketing opportunities
  • Opportunity to brand curriculum resources and inclusion on COYO website
  • Development of a ‘home grown’ talent pipe of BIM ready, knowledgeable young professionals

Support for DEC

University of Westminster DEC! supportUniversity of Westminster

University of Westminster is a leading centre for the study of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Rob Garvey, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader
“It is extremely beneficial for students entering higher education to have both a level of knowledge and understanding as well as practical experience of how the Built Environment is designed, engineered and constructed. DEC students are able to learn about the Built Environment and develop their skills and knowledge; this provides an excellent foundation should they choose to take any relevant higher education qualification.”


Newcastle University DEC! supportNewcastle University

Newcastle is ranked in the top 12 UK universities for Architecture and Planning and are also an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) top 20 strategic partnerThey rank in the top 200 universities in the world in the QS World Rankings 2018.

Dr Ruth Vater, School Manager, School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences
“We will be actively supporting schools offering Design Engineer Construct! – these qualifications are recognised by Newcastle University/School of Engineering as contributing to the entry requirements for a range of undergraduate courses alongside other qualifications at the same level.

Furthermore, we welcome the opportunity to recommend that these qualifications are acknowledged by Government as valid, rigorous, and worthy of recognition for performance table points, giving them academic equivalency and thereby encouraging their uptake in schools.”


London South Bank University DEC! supportLondon South Bank University

London South Bank University is one of London’s largest and oldest universities. Since 1892, they’ve been providing vocationally-relevant, accredited and professionally recognised education.

Professor AW Thomas MBE, School of the Built Environment and Architecture
“I have witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm of teachers and staff who have been motivated by the imaginative project-based nature of delivery and assessment. This long much-needed suite of qualifications makes a significant contribution to remedying the growing skills gap at technical and professional levels. These qualifications provide a stimulating and appropriate pathway for young people aspiring to become Surveyors, Civil Engineers, Architects, Facilities Managers, Building Services Engineers, Chartered Builders, Landscape Architects and other similar professional careers.”


Heriot Watt University DEC! supportHeriot Watt University

Founded in 1821, Heriot-Watt has a rich heritage and an established reputation as a leading research-led university and provider of education around the world.

Professor Fiona Grant, Director of Learning and Teaching, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
“We will be actively supporting schools offering Design, Engineer, Construct! – these qualifications are recognised by Heriot Watt University, School of Energy Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society as contributing to the entry requirements for a range of undergraduate courses alongside other qualifications at the same level. Examples of such course are Quantity Surveying, Construction Project Management, Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Urban Studies and Geography.

In working with Alison and being involved personally in participating in Secondary School activities using the DEC material, it is certainly a brilliant way to introduce School pupils to the various professions, knowledge and expertise required for a future career in this sector. The ability to draw on their existing STEM knowledge skills set and demonstrate a practical application to a particular job role and title, will have a positive impact on attracting future talent. ”


University of Salford

The University of Salford in Manchester has a successful global presence and a turnover of £189m. Their 7 schools, 20,000 students and 2,500 staff have all grown to serve the needs of industry, commerce and education.

Dr Gerard Wood, Associate Dean (Academic) / School of the Built Environment
“We are keen to encourage schools to offer Design Engineer Construct! and, as such, are happy to accept these qualifications as contributing to the entry requirements for a range of undergraduate degree courses including BSc(Hons) in Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, Construction Project Management, Architectural Design and Technology, and Architectural Engineering.

We have worked closely with Alison Watson at Class of Your Own Limited in recent years, particularly in Secondary School activities using the DEC materials, and have been impressed with the standard, content and levels of performance achieved by the pupils. It has provided an excellent introduction to the various professions, knowledge and expertise required for a career in this sector.”


Northumbria University DEC support letterNorthumbria University, Newcastle

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. It is based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is regularly voted the best place in the UK for students.

Susan Dawson Bsc(Hons) PGCert FHEA
“We will be actively supporting schools offering Design Engineer Construct! – these qualifications are recognised by Northumbria University as contributing to the entry requirements for a range of undergraduate courses alongside other qualifications at the same level.”


RICS DEC support letter

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

RICS is the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction.

Matthew Howell, Managing Director, UK & Ireland
“Design Engineer Construct! proves that vocational learning can lead to more than just construction trades. Equipping young people with learning, knowledge and experience that prepares them for a professional career and working in partnership with industry will provide the talent for the future of the built environment. Specifically, we value DEC as a pathway to a career in surveying and the wider built environment including the Surveying Technician (Level 3) and the Chartered Surveying Apprenticeship (Degree).

RICS is committed to improving diversity and encouraging social mobility within the profession of surveying, hence our endorsement of Design Engineer Construct! which enables engagement with children from a wider range of backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences.”


Gardiner and Theobold DEC support

Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)

ICES is an international qualifying body dedicated to the regulation, education and training of surveyors working within civil engineering. ICES is now recognised as the LEADING chartered professional body for civil engineering surveyors.

Bill Pryke, Chief Executive Officer
“ICES has been impressed by the Design Engineer Construct! learning programme and sees it as playing a vital part in addressing the much-noted skills shortage in the construction and infrastructure industry. The industry is going through a ‘digital revolution’ under the remit of the Government’s Digital Built Britain initiative and it is vital that schemes such as Design Engineer Construct! tap into the enthusiasm for Digital that our young people have and introduce them to practical and exciting ways in which their skills can be used to transform the Built Environment.

Construction is a marvellous and rewarding place to work, but the industry has historically struggled to portray this. I cannot recommend the work of Class of Your Own and the Design Engineer Construct! programmes enough. We need the important role it plays in bringing through the professionals who will help transform the physical world to meet the global challenges of the future.”


Topcon Positioning Systems

Topcon are a global company, whose mission is to provide superior end-to-end business solutions for the surveying, agriculture, construction and mining industries by integrating high-precision measurement technology, software and data  to improve productivity and workflow to meet global demand for sustainable agriculture and infrastructure.

Ian Stilgoe, Vice President, Europe GeoPositioning Solutions

“…we have actively supported Class Of Your Own and DEC schools for a number of years, providing industry standard surveying and measurement equipment and specialist teacher training for DEC teachers throughout the UK.

As a global company of 4000+ employees, we recognise the relevance of the DEC program to deliver great teaching and learning opportunities in the field of geospatial surveying and engineering, preparing secondary school students for the real world of work in the Digital Built Environment. Specifically, we value DEC as a pathway to careers as civil engineers and surveyors including apprenticeships.

The program opens excellent career choices for young adults and brings to life transferable STEM skills to all who are offered this excellent program.”


Mott MacDonald DEC Support

Mott Macdonald Group

Mott MacDonald is the UK’s largest global management, engineering and development consultancy.

Keith Howells, Chairman 
“…we value DEC providing a clear line of sight to a variety of rewarding and fulfilling professional careers in the sector, and an encouragement to follow STEM subjects. More specifically we would expect that DEC will provide insight into potential careers as planners; architects; civil, structural mechanical and electrical engineers; project and commercial managers; quantity surveyors; environmental scientists, etc through both degree and apprenticeship routes.

Mott Macdonald has been a long term supporter of “Class of Your Own” and “Design Engineer Construct!”, as we recognise the important role that they play in the development of the skills required to support the delivery of buildings and infrastructure the country so desperately needs.”


Arup DEC support


Arup are an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists working across every aspect of today’s Built Environment. They have produced some of the world’s most ambitious and highest performing buildings.

Andrew McDowell, Associate Director, Building Engineering
“Arup have actively supported a number of schools offering the Design Engineer Construct! learning programme and qualifications for a number of years, and recognise their worth in the education of the next generation of young professionals. We believe they provide a terrific basis for young people to understand more about engineering and the construction industry, and to apply their mathematical and communication skills in real world design situations. The students also learn to use digital Building Information Modelling (BIM), using the software “Revit”, which is becoming the industry standard for construction in the UK. Specifically, these job roles are design engineering roles across a range of disciplines including Structural Civil and Building Services Engineering.

Furthermore, a number of DEC students have subsequently applied to our apprentice training programme; their knowledge and understanding of the construction has helped them earn a place on that programme and are now full employees of the firm. Specifically, these are apprenticeships in Civil Engineering.”


BAM Construct UK DEC support

BAM Construct UK

BAM Construct UK is one of the most successful construction and property services companies in the UK.

Graham Cash, Chief Executive
“BAM is actively supporting schools and colleges offering the Design Engineer Construct! Learning Programme and qualifications via Class Of Your Own’s Adopt A School scheme, and recognise their worth in the education of the next generation of young built environment professionals.

The construction industry has to respond to a global challenge to create a sustainable, low carbon built environment, as well as keep pace with rapid developments in technology. In order to meet these challenges, we will need to recruit a more diverse workforce that is capable of working collaboratively and creatively. This means that we have to work harder to encourage as many talented and enthusiastic students as possible to choose the built environment professions as their preferred career.

This new qualification provides students with the broad-based foundation of skills and knowledge needed for them to progress to further professional study in the various construction disciplines. More importantly it open their eyes to the new ways of working that are evolving in the construction sector, and the wide range of career opportunities that now exist.”


Happold Foundation DEC support

BurroHappold & The Happold Foundation

BuroHappold is an international, integrated engineering consultancy.

The Happold Foundation is a charity dedicated to using engineering skills and experience to make a positive impact on people’s lives. They work with young people, educators and researchers to shape a community who want to improve the built environment.

Emily McDonald, Fergus Anderson
“Through engaging young people with the built environment in their local community we have seen first-hand how the learning programme is able to inspire curiosity. We support Design Engineer Construct! as an integral part of our own aspirations as well as part of the solution to the UK’s skills shortage.”


Gardiner and Theobold DEC support

Gardiner & Theobold LLP

Gardiner & Theobold is an independent construction and property consultancy working across all sectors of the Built Environment.

Tony Burton, Senior Partner
“In fact we are actively recruiting DEC students who are continuing their studies whilst in employment with Apprenticeships in Surveying Technician at Level 3 and Degree Apprenticeships in Chartered Surveying at Level 6. This is what industry needs and what industry wants. We are simply unable to recruit sufficient people from cognate degree courses alone. Built Environment courses taught in schools leading to rewarding careers in a sector which is desperately short of skills.

We wholeheartedly support DEC at all levels.”


Balfour Beatty DEC! support letter

Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group creating infrastructure, supporting communities and enabling growth.

Ken Brown, Project Manager
“Balfour Beatty and Class of Your Own have been in discussions for a number of years exploring ways in which to engage with young people on a programme that would create a platform for creative learning whilst also providing avenues to explore the world of engineering and potentially start them on a career within the industry.

Only recently has the opportunity arisen in Perth and Dundee for the partnership to come together and deliver for two local secondary schools. Balfour Beatty is committed to engaging with school-aged children both as neighbours but also to enthuse about careers within engineering and construction.

The work of Class of Your Own and the DEC programme is the perfect opportunity for us to bring to life often static STEM based learning. Our partnership in both local authority areas is still at a relative infantile stage but from initial experiences we are confident that this programme will provide a fantastic platform for learning for the young people but also give our own employees the opportunities to be inspired by the next generation of construction professionals.”


Seddon DEC support

Seddon Construction

Seddon Construction is family-owned and managed business that carries out development, building and maintenance services across the UK, with a turnover in excess of £200 million.

Roy Cavanagh MBE
“Alison Watson and Class of Your Own are a quite marvellous organisation. In my role as National Chair for the 14-19 C&BE Education Group, I visit many University’s Colleges and Schools around the country, and nothing, but nothing, I have seen covers what they produce for young people. Interestingly for teachers also as they really bring learning to the fore. I am proud to help and work alongside them anytime.”


The Survey Association DEC support letter

The Survey Association

The Survey Association promotes best practice, provides guidance and support and continuing professional development for UK commercial survey companies.

Rory M Stanbridge, Secretary General
“…we have actively supported schools offering the Design Engineer Construct! learning programme and qualifications for a number of years, and recognise their worth in the education of the next generation of young professionals.

The Survey Association has always understood the need to get youngsters involved in the survey profession and has even developed a website devoted solely to this. We are also investing considerable time and funds into introducing a new Apprenticeship which will provide a pathway into the surveying profession.

This is vital for the future of the UK’s construction industry as every project commences with a survey of some type.”


UK BIM Alliance DEC support

UK BIM Alliance

UK BIM Alliance are an organisation whose context is the digital formation of the Built Environment.
In an industry of over 2.1M people, where 95% work in SMEs; their mission is to enable all actors to understand the value of a digitally enabled industry.

Dr Anne Kemp, Chair, UK BIM Alliance & John Eynon, Chair, BIM Regions UK
“Our society and communities are being transformed on a daily basis by the impact of digital technologies and the increasing use of data driven processes. The centrality of our young people to this transformation is critical, as they move into industry and society. Our success and sustainability as UK PLC will be built on their ability to perform and lead on the global digital stage. Therefore the above [DEC] initiatives are to be very much welcomed, applauded and fully supported.”


Colt International DEC! support letter

COLT International

Colt is a £150m turnover, privately owned company founded in 1931 that provides and services innovative solutions and products for smoke control, ventilation, solar shading and climate technology.

David Fitzpatrick, Business Development Director
“The experience we have had through DEC has been excellent, we have seen the joy in the students who have found a real purpose within the school environment. It has made pupils believe there are so many opportunities available when they leave school within the construction industry.”


More letters of support from industry (click to read)

Willmott Dixon DEC support letter Laing O'Rourke DEC support letter CIOB DEC support letter

Atrium School

Atrium School DEC support letterSam Morcumb, Assistant Principal
“DEC enables students to engage in a curriculum that aligns with our whole-school approach to ‘hands -on, minds- on learning’.  Employers who work with us (either by mentoring students or facilitating work placement) have praised their ability to participate in tasks that ‘non-DEC’  students would not ordinarily understand. Employers have even approached us to secure apprentices; appreciating our students’  depth and breadth of knowledge.

DEC also enables students to apply their learning in other subject areas –  including but not limited to Maths, Science, English and Geography. In a recent Ofsted inspection of the school, HMI recognized that the weaving together of DEC and other subjects leaves students ‘highly motivated and keen to succeed…producing high calibre work’  (Atrium inspection report 2018).

DEC Level 2 enables students to pursue DEC at Level 3. The course allows students to complement other subjects they may wish to pursue at A Level. A number of our employers have already commented on our Level 3 students being comparable to undergraduates in terms of knowledge and presentation of work.

Higher level academic institutions have shown support and enthusiasm for the work our Level 3 students produce – once they have seen a portfolio they have offered unconditional places on courses! It is clear that the rigour, depth and detail of the course, particularly with applied industry knowledge and software experience, enable students to take significant steps toward their future in apprenticeships and/or higher education.

We are seeing the divide between education and industry shrinking significantly, due to the nature of our school and the real world relevance and validity of DEC”


More letters of support from schools (click to read)

St Ambrose DEC support letter

Norbury Manor DEC support letter

Heathcote School DEC support letter

Clacton Coastal Academy DEC support letter

DEC Industry Adopters

Get involved with DEC

We’d love to work with you!

To get involved in the most innovative, challenging and relevant secondary school curriculum development in recent years, all you have to do is get in touch.

Call our team on +44 (0) 1282 680946
You will be put in touch with our experienced team who will guide you through the process and answer any questions.

Eco Classroom Workshops
Whatever your profession contact us to express your interest, and find out how you can have a huge impact for just a small commitment of your time.

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Adopt A School factsheet download

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