Liverpool-based virtual academy launched for young people.

Led by the social enterprise, PLACED, the online academy is aiming to support diversity, as well as develop skills and confidence amongst young people.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on the UK’s education sector, with many facing uncertainty about their future prospects as a result of cancelled lessons, many institutions have been introducing virtual classes to ensure the safety of their students.

In response to the pandemic, PLACED, a Liverpool-based social enterprise, have announced the launch of PLACED Digital Academy, a virtual creative programme that offers free access to lessons about the built environment for 14-18 year olds.

The Academy is designed to tackle the barriers that young people face when trying to access professional careers in the built environment.

It seeks to support greater diversity in the sector, enable participants to develop their skills and confidence while empowering them as active members of society.

PLACED Digital Academy is being delivered in partnership with the University of Liverpool School of Environmental Sciences, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Regenda Group along with support from a range of sponsors.

The ten-week digital programme will give 30 young people the opportunity to participate in an exciting programme of activities about the built environment with online workshops, tutorials and guidance being offered from industry mentors.

PLACED Director, Jo Harrop said: “At PLACED, we believe creative learning is an invaluable tool in developing young people’s confidence, self-belief and skills.

Making the built environment the focus of this creativity means we can create empowered young citizens who know their views matter and that they have the potential to shape the places in which they live. We also believe it is a priority to support young people under-represented in the built environment in accessing the sector, whether young women, those from black and ethnic minority communities or those from less privileged areas“.

Participants will take part in online workshops, including: design projects, skills development activities, professional skill sessions and one-to-one support. This will help them to feel confident as they take the next steps towards their goals.

Young people will be supported by the PLACED team, mentor ambassadors, built environment professionals and students. Mentors will include architects, planners, interior designers and landscape architects who will offer young people a unique insight into careers and study routes.

One previous Academy participant said: “The Placed Academy has really benefited me in many ways.

It has boosted my confidence, developed my teamwork skills and has truly given me an insight into the built environment and what a career would be like in it. It is a great opportunity“.

The 2020 digital Academy builds upon the success of PLACED’s first Academy programme which ran from July 2019 until May 2020 as a series of face-to-face activities and workshops.

35 young people graduated from the programme in May. Their time on the programme has made them confident and informed young people who are able to think creatively to solve problems and develop ideas.

To find out more about PLACED Digital Academy you can visit their website here …

Applications are open until June 30.

The above article by Laura Davis first published on inyourarea.co.uk in June, 2020.