End of Term Report

As we reach the end of the academic summer term, we’ve taken a look back at some of our activities in helping encourage and inspire the next generation of planners and urban designers.  Over the past year we have run design workshops, competition projects, A-level career presentations and headed to University career shows.

Recently we were at Shenley Brook End School with Hallam Land Management, running a Connective Learning Project designed to expose Year 9 students to the world of work as part of their curriculum development.  Helped by our CHLOE web-based design and engagement tool, teams competed to design and pitch a new neighbourhood of Milton Keynes to a judging panel including Milton Keynes City Council.  Over several days, the students developed their understanding of Milton Keynes, their understanding of urban planning and also their soft skills of working as a team, solving problems, creativity and communication.

Working with Urban&Civic, we helped run school outreach events at Alconbury, Waterbeach and Houlton.  Make Your Mark centred on portraying the types of career path, and journeys there are to working in the built environment sector, and used our CHLOE tool to design the ‘Perfect Town,’ highlighting the importance of good planning, problem solving and to show the breadth of specialisms involved in making good places. We also helped students at Houlton School with their design for a next phase of their new community, introduced Year 10 work experience students to masterplanning at Alconbury Weald, and ran design workshops at Cottenham Village College as part of our community engagement at Waterbeach.

Last week we hosted a group of Year 12 students and undergraduates for a week of work experience at our offices.  Building on the success of our Virtual Work Experience week earlier in the year, our graduates and more senior staff ran workshops and Q&A sessions to share some of our current projects and explain the value of DLA’s breadth of in-house skills.  Students learnt how we bring GIS, planning policy, design skills and development finance come together to shape better places.

We’re delighted to be able to offer these opportunities, and while we always enjoy being able to share what we know with the next generation, it offers us a valuable opportunity to listen to what they value and to be re-invigorated by their outlook on the built environment.