A pilot workplace-based mentoring scheme, The Learner Voice, launched in February 2013 by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) North-West Regional Committee in partnership with the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and CITB, has won the Merit award for the CIOB International Innovation & Research Awards 2013, in the Innovation in Education and Training Award category.
Under the scheme, a consortium of universities in the North-West of England together with over 30 construction and built environment companies with a presence in the area, signed up to provide Built Environment undergraduates with the opportunity to talk informally to construction industry professionals about issues such as career choices, links between university and the world of work, and placement opportunities. As a result of the programme 65 students were matched with 56 mentors.
Katie Wray, The Co-operative Estates said of the scheme:
“…a great way to help the next generation of built environment professionals understand their options and how it works in practice… had a big impact for the student. The Learner Voice has the potential to create a much more ‘joined-up’ built environment profession.”
At the summative dissemination workshop with employers, learners and academics, benefits identified included the potential for enhanced local relationships between companies and Universities going forward; valuable insights, advice and feedback for students, including network opportunities and site visits; and mentors said they enjoyed putting something back into the industry and found contact with young people refreshing and inspiring, they also valued the opportunity to network with fellow professionals, and gain CPD in mentoring.
Aled Williams, Discipline Lead (Built Environment) at the HEA and lead of The Learner Voice pilot, commented:
“The Learner Voice being shortlisted for this award was an accolade in itself but attaining the Merit award is a great honour. It is important to our industry and to our students to bring employers and education providers closer together for the benefit of future generations of built environment professionals. I would be delighted to see the scheme rolled out nationwide and for students everywhere to be given the chance to have the careers to which they aspire.”
Roy Cavanagh MBE, Seddon and sponsor of the scheme said:
“What really struck me was the chance that this could be rolled out further.”
Following the success of the pilot, the scheme will be repeated in 2014. Individuals and employers interested in participating in The Learner Voice as mentors can contact Aled Williams, aled.williams(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)heacademy.ac.uk