Engineering students turn town planners at UrbanPlan workshop

Engineering students at Westminster Kingsway College put their planning and business skills to the test when they were tasked with redeveloping a site in a fictional town.

Three teams of six students took part in the workshop run by UrbanPlan UK, an educational initiative to help students learn about urban regeneration.

They were asked to form property companies responding to a council request to redevelop a town centre with each team member given a specific role in the process.

The students had to reconcile competing agendas to create a well-designed and sustainable development that met the needs of the town.

They discussed financial, market and political forces as well as design issues before creating a computer-generated 3D model of their proposal.

Each team presented their proposal to a group of quantity surveyors acting as council representatives who would award a contract to the best design.

The students from the winning property company called Essential Innovation Developments were Kimberley Akingbehin, Kieran Ammon, Sinem Bozkurt, Jayue Desai, Deimante Labinaite and Youcef Remmouche.

They came up with a balanced, financially viable design for their town centre that was not overcrowded, had plenty of green spaces and met the needs of the community.

Kimberley, 17, from Lambeth, said: “I want to become a project manager, and this really gave me an insight into the skills that are needed for that kind of role.

“We learnt how to interact and listen to each other’s opinions, take them into account and sometimes compromise and came to a mutual agreement as a team.”

UrbanPlan began running interactive workshops across the United States in 2003 and in recent years has branched out to schools and colleges in Europe and Asia.

In the UK the project has reached more than 3.500 pupils and students since its launch in 2014 with the support of over 600 industry volunteers across the country.

Joao Duarte, Lecturer in Physics and Engineering at Westminster Kingsway, said: “The UrbanPlan challenge was an amazing experience where our students sampled a real-world engineering scenario. They planned the regeneration of a rundown town centre taking into account design, financial and social aspects; all in a fast-paced and competitive environment mimicking real life.

“It was a great opportunity for the students to learn about property development, as well as developing skills such as team-working and effective communication skills which are so highly sought in the job market.”

WestKing regularly works in partnership with employers and organisations to provide opportunities for students to gain work-related skills to help them achieve their career goals.

Find out more and apply for Engineering courses.

Westminster Kingsway College students scoop Camden Youth Awards

Four students from Westminster Kingsway College have been named among the winners of this year’s Camden Youth Awards.

Orla McLaughlin, Marquis Coker, Shorif Miah and Nilton Pimenta received their awards from actor Eliza Butterworth during a virtual ceremony on 27 April.

The awards presented by Camden Council recognise and celebrate amazing work by young people, youth workers and youth services in the borough.

Orla McLaughlin

Orla, 17, received the Young Carer Award, presented to a young person who has managed to juggle caring for someone in their family with work or education.

She said: “I’ve cared for my mum all my life and in the last six months I’ve started caring for my grandma because her health is deteriorating fast. I’ve never been the type to complain about it because I honestly thought it was normal, and I’ll go to the world and back for my mum and my family. This award means a lot because I don’t usually get recognition for it.

“I grew up very fast because of what I do. To all the other people who are doing the same thing as me, I just want to say give yourself a big pat on the back. Even though you might not get as much recognition, what you are doing does make a big difference.”

Marquis Coker

Marquis, 18, was presented with the New Creatives Award, for a young person who has shared their passion for the arts with friends and the wider community.

Accepting the award on his behalf, Will Davies, Learning Support Assistant at WestKing, said: “Marquis was really, really chuffed to be getting the New Creatives Award. He’d like to express his thanks to everybody involved with the award, so thank you very much indeed.”

Shorif Miah

Shorif, 25, received the Young Volunteer Award, for a young person who has spent time working for the benefit of residents in Camden, such as supporting the vulnerable, local groups or fundraising.

Despite having physical and learning disabilities, he has helped run various activities and given advice and encouragement to young people aged 11-19 at Somers Town Youth Club.

Senior Youth Worker Joanne Peet described Shorif as “an amazing young man” who has never let his disability hinder his determination to fulfil his potential and be a role model to his peers.

Nilton Pimenta.

Nilton, 18, received the Camden Spotlight Award, presented to a young person who has provided help and support to a group of people at their place of education or in the community.

He was elected as a Student Governor this academic year and has inspired other WestKing students by sharing his experience as a gay man to promote equality and awareness of LGBTQ+ issues.

Nilton said: “I want to thank everybody for all the support you have offered me in being able to secure this amazing achievement. It is undeniably a pleasure to be able to support all the student groups and lift morale during these really tough times.”

Eve Stickler, Director of Early Intervention and Prevention at Camden Council, who hosted the ceremony, said: “I want to congratulate everyone, not just the winners of the awards, but all the nominees in this extraordinary year.

“Young people have been amazing this year, and I’ve been knocked out by the commitment that they and their youth organisations have made to keep going and make sure they have the best possible time while keeping safe.

“These awards are a wonderful opportunity to say thank you, to recognise what they have all been doing and their achievements.”

Laura Elliott, Head of Learner Services at WestKing, said: “Congratulations to Orla, Marquis and Nilton on being named among the winners of this year’s Camden Youth Awards.

“Their hard work and dedication has been rightly recognised at a time of much uncertainty due to the pandemic. Well done to all of them on their fantastic and well-deserved achievements.”

Marquis and Nilton were also among the winners in this year’s Jack Petchey Achievement Awards.