Built environment professionals are being given an opportunity to beat the recession by signing up to Build Up, an innovative new programme launched yesterday at the University of Westminster aimed at helping professionals develop their careers.

University of Westminster flag

The programme will offer free places on three ‘strands’ that will run for a year at the University, beginning next month. These courses will offer built environment professionals who are unemployed, or under-employed, an opportunity to assess their careers, develop their skills and get involved in innovative new collaborations.


Build Up is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE)Economic Challenge Investment Fund, which enables universities to respond rapidly to the needs of employers and individuals during the economic downturn.


Around 1,500 places will be on offer to professionals working in any of seven built environment and related professions. Build Up will enable participants to identify and develop skills in key shortage areas, enabling them to be better prepared to take advantage when the economy picks up.


The first strand of the programme will offer networking opportunities and career assessment. The second will take the form of a series of short courses on a range of subjects from business skills to community engagement, concentrating on issues that are sometimes overlooked in traditional educational or professional environments. The third strand will feature a range of collaborative projects, involving local authorities and not-for-profit organisations that focus on low carbon and sustainable community issues.


Professor Jeremy Till, dean of Westminster’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment, said Build Up had been designed carefully to give participants the opportunity to step back and consider their careers before helping them to develop new skills and experience in collaborative projects. A particular aim will be to develop inter-professional working and new ways of looking at urban issues.


“The recession has hit built environment professionals particularly badly and this new programme will offer a cost-free opportunity to many to reposition themselves for when the upturn comes," he said.


“Here at Westminster we are in an almost unique position in providing higher education across the built environment professions. This means we are able to work in collaboration with sector bodies and other agencies to ensure Build Up will be relevant to skills development across all the built environment professions.


“We are particularly delighted to have such support from the various professional bodies, which have all recognised the importance of the project,” added Professor Till.


Also speaking with Professor Till (pictured centre) at the University launch were Sunand Prasad, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) (left) and Max Crofts, President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (right).

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Built environment professionals who will be able to take part inBuild Up are: architects, town planners, surveyors, construction professionals, housing professionals, building engineers and urban designers.


The University is working with: Westminster Works, City of Westminster; the Construction Industry Council; RIBA London; RICS; the Royal Town Planning Institute; the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers; London First and the Linking London Lifelong Learning Network. The £400,000 HEFCE grant for the project will be match-funded by the University and partner organisations, including an £80,000 grant from City of Westminster’s Westminster Works programme.


Built environment professionals interested in applying for a place on the programme, which will begin in late August, are asked to see

http://www.build-up.org.uk/ for more details. Those taking part will be able to opt to take one, two or all three of the strands.

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