Railpen and the development teams behind Botanic Place inspire young minds

On the 24th of March, we arrived at the offices of Mills & Reeve for a brand new Railpen Cambridge LaunchPad project day. Professionals involved in Cambridge’s Botanic Place development from Socius, Bioregional, Skanska, Hoare Lea, AKT II, and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris came together to introduce Year 9 students to the disciplines required to construct and design sustainable buildings.

The students from Cottenham Village College heard from all of the construction professionals to get an idea of how they think, and were shown plans for the new Botanic Place development, of which the construction site they could see out of the window. They also had their chance to grill the experts on their career paths, which the students took full advantage of.

They then moved on to the building stage of the project day. In teams, the students were tasked with designing and building highly sustainable school spaces, such as a science lab, classroom or library, using Lego. They then presented their creations and explained the design, engineering, sustainability analysis and construction to the professionals and the rest of the class.

Rob Jones, Senior Engineer at AKT II

“It was great to show the students how they can apply the skills they’re learning now to real-word problems and that means for the future of construction and buildings.”

Everyone involved got to vote for their favourite design, with team 4 being crowned the winners. However, all the teams produced fantastic presentations, really thought about what they were creating, and came up with brilliantly innovative ideas. Good work everyone!

Liam Ronan-Chlond, Head of Engagement at Socius

“Railpen are delivering the most sustainable and intelligent offices outside of London. It’s important that local people understand what that actually means, and if we’re going to provide a real social impact, young people need to understand not only what that means but how they can potentially shape the Cambridge and environment of the future. So that’s what these projects days are about. Getting young people into a room and trying to inform, educate and inspire them about the work we do in the built environment sector and how it’s not just building and engineering and designing, but it’s also about creating sustainable places.”

Katrina Lamberton, Senior Project Manager at Socius

“I’ve had a fantastic day working with all the young adults here. I think the most exciting thing was the breadth of ideas that they had. They seem able to tap into a set of ideas, that as an older person it doesn’t really come that easy to me, but I really enjoyed their different thought processes and their different takes on the environment and how the building world meets with the natural world and what their future could look like. It’s really exciting!”