Welsh Government Minister Kirsty Williams visited Willowtown Primary school in Ebbw Vale to launch the GoConstruct Educate resources, which introduces the construction industry to the school curriculum in a bid to get more youngsters to consider a future career in construction.
The Go Construct Educate Programme is a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) funded project awarded to major construction contractor Bouygues UK. CITB and Bouygues UK have worked with a consortium of partners from the construction industry, education sector, Careers Wales and learning technology company Aspire 2Be to develop the resources, which will be available to every school, teacher and pupil across Wales aged from five to 16.
The GoConstruct Educate resources will cover numeracy, literacy and digital competency skills, and provision is also made for Welsh Baccalaureate and alternative education. Teachers will be provided with a series of contextualised learning projects which include an overview for each project, along with a set of progressive lesson plans and numerous interactive resources to use with each year group. The resources will all be available on Hwb, the education online platform which is available to all 1456 schools in Wales.
As well as GoConstruct Educate, the other GoConstruct elements are Experience – where students use the much-loved game Minecraft to learn about building and planning; and GoConstruct Engage – in which construction professionals across a wide range of roles and business will visit schools to talk about their career pathway. Go Construct Engage links in to both projects to enable industry experts to come into the schools and bring the resources to life.
On launching the resources, Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams said: “I’m grateful to the CITB and their partners for launching Go Construct – Experience, Educate and Engage resources, using these within the classroom and as part of work experience will help schools to recognise and utilise the opportunities the construction sector can offer our learners.”
CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale said: “CITB is delighted to have funded and co-developed Go Construct Educate in collaboration with Bouygues UK and a consortium of industry partners.
“The programme is a milestone in Welsh education. It means construction modules will be part of the Welsh curriculum for the first time. Go Construct Educate will make the teaching of construction modern, informative and fun for all. It will mean boys, girls, teachers and parents in Wales fully consider the wide range of career opportunities in construction, thus helping industry with the skills challenges it faces.”
Pupils at Willowtown Primary showed the Minister how they have been using some of the GoConstruct Educate resources to help them in class including constructing a bridge and using Minecraft to plan a building.
Emma Thomas, acting Headteacher at Willowtown Primary school said: “We are very excited to host the launch of Go Construct Educate. We are proud to be a STEM learning network school and ensure a STEM rich focus is at the heart of all our topics. We want to future proof our learners and give them skills that will help them succeed.
“Engaging with the Go Construct Educate project fits perfectly with our STEM ethos. We ran the Go Construct Educate project successfully across the school last year and found that it was an excellent way to engage with the new curriculum. The resources are clear and detailed for teachers to use and they are purposeful and interactive for the children.”
Julie Timothy, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Bouygues UK South West and Wales said: “One of Bouygues UK’s core business aims is to highlight how diverse and dynamic the construction industry is, to fill a growing skills shortage and ensure that the industry has nurtured a talent pipeline for the future growth anticipated.
“Go Construct Educate presented us with a fantastic opportunity to achieve some of those goals by introducing children to construction from a young age and change misconceptions about the industry as a whole. There are so many career paths and opportunities within this sector – including a massive 2,000 different job roles – and yet it’s not something pupils often hear about during school hours.
“To that end, we want to make sure that the lesson plans and projects are progressive, digestible and above all else that they weave seamlessly into the new curriculum, making it as easy as possible for teachers to engage their students.
“Bouygues UK is thrilled to be bringing GoConstruct Educate to schools across Wales, and with our official launch just around the corner, we’re really looking forward to seeing its impact on the Welsh construction industry for years to come.”
Simon Pridham, Education and Performance Partner at Aspire 2Be said: “The investment CITB has assigned to Go Construct Experience, Educate and Engage in Wales is absolutely tremendous, this really is a game changer for schools in Wales. As a former Headteacher and Government Adviser, I wish these resources and opportunities had been available a number of years ago, when I was leading a school.”
Aspire 2Be has been working in conjunction with Welsh Government to ensure that the GoConstruct lesson plans and any resources used are aligned with the new curriculum in Wales. This means that each module will be integrated in various school subjects, to align with the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths (STEAM) and will cover the Six Areas of Learning and the Four Purposes.
Ahead of its official launch, schoolchildren from all over Wales were invited to road-test the three GoConstruct Projects in ‘Buildathon’ events at Coleg Cambria in Deeside, Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli and Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. The pupils were assigned roles as project managers, architects and construction managers and were asked to design and build a rugby or cricket fan village using Minecraft. Former Wales rugby player Rupert Moon also attended these events to talk to the children about the importance of experiencing different careers from an early age.