In March this year, LIFEstyle by ENGIE welcomed 20 students from nearby De Lacy Academy onsite at the Waterton Green Development to kick-start the ENGIE Housing Project. The project was delivered in partnership with Go Higher West Yorkshire NCOP (National Collaborative Outreach Programme) — an organisation who work in areas of high deprivation and low academic achievement throughout West Yorkshire. In partaking in the scheme, ENGIE hoped to inform and inspire young people to continue into higher education, by ensuring the students saw this as an opportunity that is accessible for everyone.

The ENGIE Housing Project is an initiative that delivers these outputs in a fun, creative way over a number of weeks and gives students an insight not only into the Industry, but the development of the wider skills required for the world of work and progression into higher education.

A six-week programme was devised based around a housing development. Students were allocated roles including managing director, project manager, quantity surveyor, marketing manager and sales manager. Students chose a company and development name and then progressed onto working out build costs, researching house prices locally and creating a mood board with their ideas for a show home.

The project included a visit to a live construction site and sales centre where students were able to see first-hand the variety of roles within the sector. The site visit to LIFEstyle by ENGIE’s exclusive development for over 55’s, Waterton Green, in Walton, Wakefield was a highlight for many of the students – providing them with the opportunity to see the roles they had taken on in the project within a real-life setting. The site manager Steve Campbell and sales manager, Lisa Bradford, supported the visit sharing their knowledge and experience of working with LIFEstyle by ENGIE. The show homes on site also gave the students inspiration to create their own mood boards for their company.

To celebrate the student successes, an event was held at the end of the project where students presented their ideas and plans to peers, teachers, family and friends at the Wakefield College University Centre. At the beginning of the project many of the students were concerned about this element of the project, however over the weeks the students developed a range of skills to help boost their confidence in presenting and showcasing ideas. The ultimate aim of the event was to provide the young people involved with vital skills employers look for when recruiting - including, teamwork, negotiation and problem solving. Throughout the project the students’ verbal and written communication skills were also developed, with all students successfully presenting at the celebration event to the delight and pride of everyone in attendance.

Lisa Bradford, Sales and Marketing Manager at LIFEstyle by ENGIE said: “It was a privilege to be part of a project like this. The skills the students developed will certainly enhance their ability to succeed in higher education and employment. At the celebration event, it was especially lovely to see how confident they had become, and I’m convinced we have some future quantity surveyors and site managers in our midst. LIFEstyle by ENGIE strongly believes in the use of intergenerational relationships to keep our minds healthy and it was a real treat for the customers on our Waterton Green site to interact with the students when they visited.”

As a result of the success of this project, LIFEstyle by ENGIE will be involved in new projects with both Castleford Academy students and Hemsworth Community College students later in the year.