This is a joint research programme with Gateshead College, Northumbria University and Derby College into the barriers and limited engagement by women and ethnic minorities in Professional Construction related Higher Education and Degree courses.
As well as technical and design workshops, the Bemrose pupils met with representatives from local professional construction companies such as Morrison Design, Balfour Beatty and BAM Construction to learn more about career opportunities and pathways.
They included former Derby College Professional Construction apprentices Suzanne Butler and Tommy Harrison from Morrison Design Architects who, having completed their studies at Derby College, are now studying Architecture at degree and masters level part time.
The BRIDGE project is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEGCE) Catalyst Fund and has been prompted by a Construction Skills Network report which has highlighted a growing skills shortage in the industry.
Derby College Director of Higher Education Robin Webber-Jones explained: "The Construction Skills Network report revealed that 179,000 UK construction jobs would need to be filled from 2017 to 2021 to meet rapid growth in demand for infrastructure and housebuilding across the country.
"To meet this demand, the industry needs to encourage people from all backgrounds, sexes and ethnicities into higher education and a career in the construction industry – particularly the professions such as Quantity Surveying and Civil Engineering.
"Through the BRIDGE project, we are seeking to address why construction degree courses are not attracting students from a range of backgrounds.
"As well as the activity day we are undertaking research with current and former students and local employers which will help to formulate what education providers and the wider industry can do to address the situation."