St Bede’s Middle School

Completed: 2019
Location: Redditch
Region: West Midlands
Other local partners: The Careers & Enterprise Company, Wickes Redditch

About the project

St Bede’s Middle School took part in VIY’s Mentoring Programme, funded by The Careers & Enterprise Company, in October 2019. The programme was targeted at students in Years 8-11 and designed to develop early awareness of the building and construction sector as a relevant and rewarding career pathway. 100 secondary schools across England participated in the programme since 2017.

The programme typically involved three interactions for students over one term with their VIY Mentors: two introductory skills workshops and then a building project (either in the school or the local community) which is identified and planned by the students. For St Bede’s, the VIY programme also fitted well with their own junior apprenticeship scheme.

15 students from St Bede’s took part in the two employability skills workshops followed by their project in October 2019. The project involved using carpentry skills to create an outdoor classroom, which had been on the students’ wishlist for a long time! With the help of their mentors, the students designed and planned the project during the two workshops. They then used the school’s Design Technology workshop to build all the components of the outdoor classroom (entrance archway, base/platform and benches) before installing them in place in woods that form part of the the school’s grounds.

The project was also supported by the local Wickes store, which provided all of the timber and other materials needed, and a staff member visited the school and volunteered alongside the students and mentors.

The students loved this project. The mentors were great and so good at empowering the students. It’s fantastic that everything was 100% created by the students, and they've developed some very practical new skills and also learned how to work as team. Matt Dickinson, Teacher, St Bede’s Middle School