Birmingham teenagers turned urban designers while picking up some essential workplace experience during a career taster day with Longbridge-based housebuilder St. Modwen Homes.

The 14 and 15 year-olds from Edge Academy in Northfield attended the session with Dallaglio RugbyWorks (DRW), the programme set up by English rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio to help young people who have been excluded from mainstream education.

The action-packed day at St. Modwen Homes’ headquarters in Longbridge began with an introduction to housebuilding from human resources advisor Alex Wight, followed by a trip to see live construction at Cofton Grange in Cofton Hackett, where the housebuilder is delivering its latest phase of three and four bedroom homes. Then it was back to the office for a spot of lunch and a chat with construction apprentice Jack Ellis before the teenagers were challenged by assistant technical coordinator Emma Laventine to design their own simple residential development – featuring homes, trees, a play area and electricity substation. They then presented their ideas to the room.

Gareth Shuttleworth of DRW said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to St Modwen Homes for hosting the career taster day with the Edge Academy. It was well organised, engaged our young people and offered a good insight into the construction industry. We are very grateful to the staff that took time out of their day to support the young people and for their enthusiasm.

“It was fantastic to see our young people responding so positively to a different environment and new faces as well as their realisation of the relevance of the employability work that we have done with them. We look forward to continuing our partnership with St. Modwen Homes.”

Emma Laventine, assistant technical coordinator at St. Modwen Homes,  added: “It was a fun day and it was great to see the young people getting stuck into the activities – particularly the challenge, when they thought up some great ideas.  We  aimed to show that housebuilding has  roles for everybody no matter their skill set – ranging from design and planning to on site construction and sales and marketing. Hopefully we will have inspired some of the group to follow one of these careers.”

St. Modwen Homes is running the career taster days as part of its year-long partnership with DRW. It has already funded two rugby tournaments for schools in the East and West Midlands, and will also support a Midlands wide tournament this summer.

RugbyWorks is an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on the values of rugby, with the aim of steering teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.

Cofton Grange, in Cofton Hackett, offers a range of three, four and five-bedroom homes close to the picturesque Lickey Hills Country Park and just a mile and a half from the vibrant new £100 million Longbridge town centre offering the best of rural and city living. For further information, visit the marketing suite and showhomes open from 10am to 5.30pm Thursday to Monday. Alternatively, call 0330 058 2730 to speak to the sales team or visit www.stmodwenhomes.co.uk. You can also follow the housebuilder on Twitter and Instagram (@StModwenHomes) or like the Cofton Grange page on Facebook.