Unique engineering curriculum at Mount St Mary's

Mount St Mary's pupils get hands-on experience of design and engineering
Mount St Mary's pupils get hands-on experience of design and engineering

Pupils at Mount St Mary’s College near Sheffield are taking inspiration direct from industry experts to become the next generation of structural engineers and architects. They are taking part in a unique and pioneering curriculum that has been developed with Laing O’Rourke to deliver Design Engineer Construct!® (DEC!), a course equivalent to a GCSE A*-C grade and an A level A*-E grade.

Mount St Mary’s – which celebrates 175 years as a Jesuit college next year - is one of a small but growing number of schools nationwide to offer the industry-recognised qualification. It is designed to demonstrate the practical application of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) that enable industry to nurture a pipeline of home-grown talent and expose pupils to careers they may not otherwise have considered.

The person behind DEC! is land surveyor Alison Watson, the founder of education company Class of Your Own Ltd. The syllabus has been developed to ensure children know the range of career opportunities within the built environment sector and are equipped with real-world practical experience and employability skills.

Cutting-edge construction experience

“Jesuit schools all over the world are known as nurseries of innovation, enterprise and success,” says Headmaster Dr Neil Cuddihy, “so it follows that we should team up with the best. Laing O’Rourke is certainly a global industry leader in construction and engineering and DEC! introduces our students to a cutting-edge curricular initiative that applies pure academic subjects to the latest industry practices."

Laing O’Rourke will invest £12,000 over two years to support the delivery of DEC! and Dr Cuddihy believes it will be a great opportunity for Mount St Mary’s to extend the talents of its students and give them a key advantage in the pursuit of the very highest grades at GCSE and A Level. Pupils in Year 7 have already spent a day with industry professionals who challenged them to design a community eco classroom. There will be other workshops, class-based projects and site visits, including some to Laing O’Rourke’s Explore Industrial Park in Steetley, Worksop.