Expert developer and regeneration specialist, St. Modwen, has joined forces with over 100 students across the West Midlands as part of the next phase of regeneration in Longbridge.
Ahead Partnership, a non-profit organisation, launched the Longbridge Leisure Challenge in partnership with Ark Kings Academy and St. Modwen to engage local students in active consultation on a proposed leisure scheme for the area. The project forms part of a series of STEM briefs developed and delivered in conjunction with local development and infrastructure employers, based on real life projects.
The initiative, funded by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, saw students from Birmingham-based Ark King Academy come together firstly to look at Longbridge as an area, what it needs and what type of initiatives and businesses would thrive there. These findings will be fed into St. Modwen’s development plans over the next few years.
Students were then tasked with a live brief which provided the opportunity for them to engage in a real-life development scenario and develop their understanding of the business and sector. Independent research, case study benchmarking and demographic analyses allowed students to present prototype ideas for potential development back to St. Modwen’s surveyors and peers. A panel of volunteer judges then selected the winning group.
St. Modwen’s headquarters are in Longbridge town centre and the company employs more than 200 people in the area. 20 volunteers from across the business attended on the day to meet and support the students, providing the added opportunity for students to gain an insight into roles and pathways at the business.
Rob Flavell, Head of Major Projects for the Midlands and North at St. Modwen, said:
“We wanted to engage with young people from the area in an active and consultative way to ensure that our ideas for the leisure site are aligned. Nurturing the local talent pool is key to ensuring that Longbridge retains its unique heritage but is also fit for the future generations.
“We have been on-site regenerating Longbridge for the last 15 years and have delivered over 1,000 homes, a £70 million town centre and created over 3,000 jobs for the local area. We’re only 50% of the way through and there’s still a lot of work to be done so it has been extremely beneficial to have the local student community’s support in aiding us with the delivery of our ongoing vision.”
Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership, added:
“Longbridge Leisure Challenge is central to our ethos as a company and teaming up with the likes of St. Modwen can provide a real platform for greater local participation.
“The pupils have developed and applied team working, creativity, communication and problem-solving skills to a real-life project brief, with the intention of supporting learning through promotion of STEM in innovative ways. Meeting employers within their community and learning all about opportunities to work within the construction sector will only benefit them in the future.
“Ultimately, the results of this activity will attract a wider demographic of people to live, work, and visit Longbridge and the students are proud to play a part in this.”
Abbie Vlahakis, Interim CEO at Millennium Point, added:
“Encouraging young people to pursue a career in STEM is the primary focus of the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, so it is great to see students taking part in initiatives such as this.
“It is discouraging that women make up less than a quarter of STEM professionals; through the work of the Millennium Point Trust, we are also continuing to break down gender barriers into education and ultimately into STEM-related careers.”
“Growing up knowing they have contributed to the placemaking and local identity of their own patch will provide a feeling of immense pride for these students and we’re delighted that our funding has given them this opportunity.”