Class of Your Own is designed to raise awareness among school children of the diverse choice of careers in construction by constructing their own project in the classroom or though online programs.
It also aims to encourage school children to think about sustainability.
Students will be assessed on their ability to plan, manage, complete and review their project and will learn about roles in the construction process including lawyers and landscape architects.
As part of the course children will get the opportunity to work with building information modelling (BIM), the system recently adopted by government for all public sector construction projects.
Many construction firms are not yet fully trained in BIM and recent estimates put the cost of rolling the system out across government at more than £4m.
The course, which will form part of the curriculum for 11-14 year olds, is run by Edexcel, the UK’s largest academic and vocational qualifications and testing service for schools and colleges.
The introduction of the course to the National Curriculum follows research that revealed the majority of 11- to 14-year-olds relate industry careers to “builder/bricklayer” type jobs rather than professional services.
The course, which is exam-free, can be completed in 60 guided learning hours over one or two years. Students can continue the course to a Level 3 Extended Project (one GCSE).
Alison Watson, director and co founder of Class of Your Own, said: “The idea is to show children that construction offers a wide range of career choices and disciplines. If we can interest children in the industry now, it will help them make the right decisions when choosing courses. There are lots of professional jobs in construction and the vast majority of children are not aware of them.”
She added: “Sustainability is a key feature of the course. Young people can make positive contributions to their local, national and even global society simply by making educated choices.”
The scheme has been given support from several organisations in the industry, including Hochtief and Balfour Beatty, said Watson. “We are supported by Autodesk and Leica Geosystems and a myriad of small built environment companies across the northwest. More recently, we had a meeting with [chief construction adviser] Paul Morrell and await his foreword to the curriculum’s full release in September.”