From education to employment

George Clarke calls on local schools to shape the Birmingham of the future

reshaping birmigham

As part of UK Construction Week last week, Lovell Partnerships and MOBIE, the education charity founded by architect and TV presenter George Clarke, officially launched the Birmingham Young Persons Home Design Challenge.

Considering Birmingham’s need for 65,000 new homes by 2031, Lovell and MOBIE are working closely with Birmingham City Council to ensure that the city’s future housing stock meets the needs of its future occupiers and that young people growing up in the city can really benefit from this major investment.

Open to schools across Birmingham, the aim of this initiative is to engage young people in thinking about the type of homes that the city needs for the future and how they can be designed and built more sustainably, with the hope of attracting the city’s brightest young talent into the housing and construction sectors in the future. 

The challenge is open to secondary school students, who will compete in two distinct categories: ages 11 – 15, and ages 16-18. Students can participate individually or as part of a group, offering a platform for collaboration and teamwork.

Entries can take various forms, providing participants with creative freedom. Whether throughphysical designs or digital drawings, students can bring their ideas to life by hand or using cutting-edge CAD software.

The winner of the design challenge will be announced during the inaugural Birmingham Housing Week, which is now set to launch in collaboration with Birmingham City Council in February 2024.

As part of today’s events, Lovell and MOBIE ran hackathon workshops which invited the future designers and creators from schools across the city to consider the question: “What do you want from the future homes and communities of Birmingham”, and saw them work together to present imaginative, innovative solutions to this challenge.

Each group was supported by members of the young MOBIE community, recent graduates or those working in the sector to help inspire creative thinking and support with sketching and visualization. The findings and ideas will be used to inform a report on the future of housing produced following Birmingham Housing Week.

George Clarke, founder of MOBIE, said:

“MOBIE has been engaging with the next generation of housing since 2017, and we’re continually blown away by their creativity, imagination and passion when it comes to designing places that not only look beautiful, but which provide high living standards and make a significant contribution to the net zero economy. 

“UK Construction Week has so far been a great opportunity to engage young people in this crucial conversation, and we’re excited to extend our collaboration with Lovell into Birmingham Housing Week, enabling us to hear from even more diverse voices and work together to shape the future of the city’s housing sector.”

Stuart Penn, Regional Managing Director of Lovell Partnerships, said:

“Lovell is passionate about engaging future talent and providing them with opportunities to have their say on how we can build a better Birmingham. The energy and creativity of young people always amazes us, and we are all looking forward to seeing the challenge entries and how the next generation wants us to design and deliver new homes.

“Through UK Construction Week, and in turn through the wider Birmingham Housing Week, we hope to highlight the many career opportunities available to young people in the housing sector and to help them be passionate about the design and quality of the homes that we build”.

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