Topcon’s support includes the donation of ten comprehensive surveying kits containing the most cutting-edge surveying hardware and software. The team will also be working closely with both DEC! and the schools to make sure students and teachers are getting the most out of the equipment.
Developed in 2012 by Class Of Your Own, DEC! is an accredited learning programme for secondary-school age students that aims to create and inspire the next generation of built environment professionals through project-based learning. As a key partner of the programme, Topcon is working closely with DEC! to launch the new land surveying teaching programme and provide essential equipment to assist the learning.
Andy Clifton, geospatial applications engineer at Topcon GB & Ireland, said: “Young people in the UK have a limited understanding of built environment professions, yet it’s one of the most important sectors for the UK’s economy. We’re now experiencing an industry-wide skills shortage so now more than ever we need to work together to address this.
“That’s why Topcon has been so heavily involved in the DEC! programme from the start, working closely with educators to share real-world industry knowledge and introduce students to skills and equipment that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”
A total of ten kits have been gifted by Topcon to Class Of Your Own so that DEC! schools can loan new Topcon OS total stations, as well as surveying accessories such as tripods, prisms, measurements staffs and tapes. The schools will also have access to Topcon’s most recent version of its MAGNET suite software.
The kits will stay with these schools for 12 weeks, giving students the chance to gain practical training and develop basic land surveying skills from DEC! teachers. After this time, the kits will then be rotated to another school, extending the programme’s reach and the number of children benefitting from this introduction to surveying.
Alison Watson, managing director at Class Of Your Own, said: “There’s often a disconnect in schools when it comes to STEM subjects in particular as children aren’t given the opportunity to put what they’re learning into the context of a real-world job. This is why we often hear questions in the classroom like: ‘why are we learning this?’ or ‘when will I need to know this?’.
“The new DEC! land surveying programme helps close the gap between the academic learning of STEM subjects and their real-world applications. By getting students hands on with equipment that’s used by qualified surveyors we’re hoping to not only encourage them to pursue these careers themselves, but also understand how what they’re learning in school relates to the world beyond education.”
Topcon recently hosted its first of many teacher training workshops for the new land surveying programme. Teachers from six DEC! schools were invited to a two day training course to help them understand the practical and theory work behind land surveying. The training has been designed in conjunction with Topcon to give teachers fundamental surveying skills and knowledge that they can then share with their own students.
Sam Hodge, year 10 achievement director and a DEC! teacher at Clacton Coastal Academy, attended the recent training workshop. Commenting on his experience, Sam said: “I had an amazing time on the new DEC! land surveying programme, getting to understand why a good survey is so important and how it can underpin every element of the project. I’m really looking forward to getting the students using the total stations and levels.
“We have a very strong DEC! community at our school and have 16 level 3 students in our sixth form. One of our sixth form students is now even considering a career as a land surveyor which is fantastic and a great example of how the DEC! programme makes a difference for young people.”
The Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) has also pledged its support to the scheme following a survey that showed members are keen to work with schools to promote careers in their profession. ICES is working with DEC! and Topcon to pair its members with schools so that they can share their experiences of survey site work.
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