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Learning in Lockdown – The Awards

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Last year, when the UK went into its first Lockdown, we brought together 43 organisations to deliver a week of accredited construction work experience to 2,000 Year 10 students across the UK, who would otherwise have missed out.

Created in partnership with Class of Your Own, The Engineering Development Trust and Learn Live, the virtual work experience programme, Learning in Lockdown, centres around a design task to create a community building in Dubai teaching residents about the importance of sustainability. Working together in small groups, they researched and developed proposals that were practical, sustainable and fit for purpose.

We were delighted that 580 young people completed this to the highest standard, achieving their Industrial Cadets silver award, an industry-recognised accreditation.

The SCAPE Awards

Working closely with the students during the week, our partners were consistently amazed by the creativity, ingenuity and level of detail they saw. Together, we wanted to recognise and celebrate this with prizes that were interesting and unique, and that would support the winners with their career development.

They each received a signed letter of recommendation from the CEO (or equivalent) of the sponsoring organisation, to supplement any future job applications. In addition, our partners went above and beyond to create bespoke experiences too.

Best Design – Sponsored by Robertson

Evan Thompson Design

Winner: Evan Thomson, Inveralmond Community High School.

“Evan’s design, concept and development showed clear, well thought-out consideration of the building’s layout, aesthetics, functionality and composition. It also brought an extra level of cultural and community consideration, with the integration of traditional Arabic design into the interior.”

Gemma Gourlay, community impact director, Robertson.

Evan joined the Robertson digital team online for a virtual session exploring pre-construction design and programming for a residential scheme in Edinburgh, which is currently onsite. Evan learned how the latest BIM technology design principles were being applied and used to help with programming as well as gaining key insights into the skills and learning journey of Robertson’s Digital Construction Manager, Scott Macdonald. Find out more about Evan's experience here.

Scott did a great job at explaining the different software he uses for 3d modelling and the different aspects of his job. I really enjoyed the Learning in Lockdown programme.

Evan Thompson

Best Achievement - Sponsored by Willmott Dixon

Poppy design and teams call

Winner: Poppy Bailey, Hadley Learning Community Secondary School.

With the way in which society is changing due to the pandemic, Willmott Dixon is now identifying the best way to deliver employability initiatives such as CV writing workshops for young people - in a safe, virtual setting. Supported by midlands community manager at Willmott Dixon, Zoe Anastasi, student Poppy was invited to share her ideas for engaging other students and help to shape the programme further, whilst also receiving a CV building and confidence building sessions herself.

Poppy was offered the opportunity to be part of the Willmott Dixon Future Leaders Virtual Management Experience Week but unfortunately due to her mocks she was not able to take part.

I have learnt so much through this experience including interview skills and how to ask and answer questions and how to write my own CV. I have had the opportunity to learn things I had never even thought about before. Zoe has been a wonderful mentor and has helped me bring out the positives of myself – giving me confidence to speak to new people. Overall, it’s been a very useful and enjoyable experience where I have been continuously learning new things!”

Poppy Bailey

Best Written Report – Sponsored by Wates

Kayan and Tom Report

Winners: Kayan Kotecha, Roundhill Academy and Tom Mackay, Wallace High School.

As well as their letters of recommendation from Sir James Wates, Chairman of the Wates Group, Kayan and Tom received full 1:1 career mentoring sessions with Framework Director, Steve Spilsbury, where they were able to ask questions about future studies and career options in construction.

Kayan submitted an excellent report. The thought behind it was very strong, and the quality of the design and presentation was very high – nearing a professional standard and he answered the brief comprehensively. Tom’s presentation was fantastic and demonstrated great creativity. It included outstanding visuals, and even specialised design details such as charging facilities for electric vehicles.

Steve Spilsbury

Framework director, Wates

Steve was also approached after the mentoring session to support Roundhill Academy with some school activities, which he hopes to do once they have reopened. In his blog, Steve discusses the importance of collaborative initiatives such as Learning in Lockdown.

Risings Stars – Sponsored by Balfour Beatty

George and Abey Designs

Winners: George Motts, Denbigh School and Abey Brookes, Swinton Academy

We’re delighted to confirm that George has completed his session with Balfour Beatty, and that discussions to arrange the same for Abey are ongoing.

George received a virtual site tour at the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital in location, and will also receive a letter of commendation from Mark Bullock, CEO UK Construction at Balfour Beatty. Four members of the Balfour Beatty team joined George and talked to him about their roles and the different routes they took into construction. George was very impressed and loved the site tour, asking lots of questions along the way. He has a keen interest in construction, particularly in engineering, and clearly has a passion for the industry.

Thank you, I really enjoyed talking to the engineers about their job and how they got to work at Balfour Beatty. I gained a lot of invaluable information about careers as a whole and in specific sectors.

George Motts

The team would love to welcome George onsite in person in the future once circumstances allow. Balfour Beatty is also reviewing potential opportunities for both George and Abey through its emerging talent team.

Thank you and well done

Thank you to our delivery partners who sponsored the SCAPE awards. The experiences, guidance and advice they provided have been invaluable to the students. They might even have met some of their future architects, engineers or sustainability managers!

Well done to everyone who joined us for Learning in Lockdown, particularly those who achieved their Silver Award and of course to Evan, Poppy, Kayan, Tom, George and Abey for their extra special achievements!

If you’d like to register your interest for a future work experience programme, please let us know. To register your interest as a school, click here. To register your interest as a partner, please email