My Environment My Future: A Free School Programme Bridging the Gap Between Education and Industry
There is a lot of talk about bridging the gap between education and industry, but actually engaging with schools on an ongoing basis can be a challenge for both sides. Some of the best examples rely on expensive, facilitated workshops or activities. Schools have limited funding, time, and curriculum constraints, while industry struggles to engage with schools, understanding what works to ensure consistent and effective delivery, and matching up availability of their teams with the school timetable. However, everyone recognises the importance of making engagement work, and not just for the biggest companies in costly one off programmes, but on an ongoing basis. The industry will benefit, but more importantly, young people will have better future career prospects.
The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust has developed a free, fully-funded school program called My Environment My Future (MEMF) bring careers in the Built Environment to life for young people, and provide a tool to break down the engagement barriers between education and industry. MEMF was co-designed by geography teachers and built environment professionals to enhance the geography curriculum by curating career resources and opportunities that align with the curriculum. This will be the third year running the school program, and have reached nearly 500 teachers and career leads as part of the MEMF network!
MEMF embeds knowledge, resources, and guidance on careers within the built environment directly into the delivery of the GCSE and A-level geography curriculum. The program materials meet the specifications for all major UK awarding bodies (AQA, OCR and Edexcel) and include lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, and worksheets as well as a host of resources such as videos and case studies. As part of the program, schools can take part in site visits, career talks with industry professionals, and a nationwide competition challenging students to design and present practical actions to improve their local urban environments.
A career in the built environment offers an opportunity to play a part in transforming the world around you, make a difference to the lives of our communities and the impact we have on the natural environment. Unfortunately, many students miss out on these opportunities due to a lack of awareness of the access to pathways into these careers. It is vital that we bridge this gap as the built environment is currently facing a skills shortage, as new technology is transforming the sector, an aging workforce, and predicts it will need more than 216,000 new workers by 2025. So far, MEMF has reached over 480 teachers across the UK and supported more than 40,000 young people to learn and connect with the built environment. MEMF provides industry with the tools and opens up opportunities to helpfully engage with schools, dispel any misconceptions about the built environment and showcase the breadth of rewarding, sustainable, and varied careers the sector has to offer.
With MEMF we aim to raise awareness in every secondary school across the UK, promote other schools engagement programmes that may be more focussed on specific groups of young people, or particular careers and redefine how industry supports schools with careers education. The next generation of young people will help shape the future of the sector and the fabric of our society MEMF empowers them to learn about and consider this sector as a career destination of choice. The goal is for the built environment, where we all live, work, and relax, to be shaped and created by individuals who represent all parts of our society and in so doing also go some way towards addressing our equity and diversity challenges.
Over the past year, we have achieved some major milestones, including launching a new website, revamping our teaching resources, partnering with GetZero to create a sustainability club, receiving over 850 entries in the school competition, and collaborating with some of the largest industry bodies in the built environment. We are grateful for the support we have received throughout this journey.
To access the MEMF school program for free, register on the www.MEMF.careers website and download the program. It’s that simple! MEMF welcomes future collaborations and partnerships, including providing resources or guidance to include in the program, making MEMF a part of your section 106 or social impact efforts, and shaping the future of the program. For all these inquiries, please contact MEMF via email or the contact us page.
Find more information about the school programme in our Teachers Pack.
“Aside from fulfilling an important element of both the Geography GCSE and A Level curricula, CSTT’s My Environment My Future free programme for schools aims to provoke an interest from young people in careers in the built environment. If our success in achieving this goal is measured by the enthusiasm and effort that has gone into all the entries for this year’s competition then our industry has the prospect of attracting some very talented people from a very diverse set of backgrounds.” William Hill, Chair of CSTT Board.
“We really loved the project. It gave our students the opportunity to explore their local environment under a new lens. They could apply geographical understanding and knowledge to their environment and really get to grips with the concepts of sustainability. Our two winners have been invited to meetings with SLT to see how their ideas can be implemented at school.” Gayle, Geography Teacher in Bognor Regis.
“I enjoyed participating in this competition because it gives you an opportunity to incorporate Maths, Art and Geography all into one project. I also think that it was enjoyable because we got to learn much about sustainability and its importance. We also got to experiment with our own ideas for what sustainability means to us individually.” Student, aged 12 from London.