We believe that projects and programmes in the built environment are only truly successful when they deliver real benefits to the local community, including enhancing wellbeing, building social capital and protecting the environment. This focus on delivering more than buildings is called ‘social value’.
Working at Deptford Green School, our student selection process to be part of the Creative and Entrepreneurial workshops was based on their chances of facing exclusion or failure of school. The students I work with face a lot of challenges, so it is vital that we narrow down on what these issues are so we can work with them successfully, to get the best possible outcome. The main challenges that the students may face, include:
- A lack of close access to successful creative professionals and entrepreneurs, that they could use as role models
- Learning or behavioural difficulties that affect their studies
- A lack of motivation to participate in normal academic lessons
- Unclear vision for their future career
We acknowledge that, in order to solve these problems, the students need a deeper understanding of the career opportunities they have access to in the future. We also want to give them confidence and a vision for their dream career, which is inspiring to see when students start to make progressive developments throughout the workshops.
Our first session, held by one of our partner organisations Paradigm Project, was insightful. The students reacted positively to those of us who were leading the workshop, with students who were quiet in the beginning becoming more confident to speak up and participate. The workshop gave them the opportunity to think outside of the box and focus on their own development, skills, and strengths, and how they can utilise those in the future and letting them see that there are tangible opportunities out there waiting for them.
Another phase of the workshops included Ultra Education, whose focus was to teach students what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to develop a mindset much like a successful business owner. Amazingly, one of the students discovered her strengths and gained a confident understanding of which career path she can follow.
It was amazing to see that the Creative and Entrepreneurial workshops have impacted students positively, giving them a safe space and time to think about their future and education. One student fed back to us that “the sessions helped me think more about my future, because I’ve never really thought about it before”, which shows how encouragement goes a long way for students to feel more motivated to try when it comes to their academic goals.
Overall, the Creative and Entrepreneurial workshops are making amazing progress to nurture and bring talent to light within schools, setting the foundations for a more inclusive society to grow.