Scotland's Home of the Year presenter and interior designer Anna Campbell Jones provides inspiration at Larbert High

Learning was brought to life for pupils at Larbert High School last week as they enjoyed Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Week.

Over the course of the week, a wide range of partners engaged with faculties across the school curriculum in support of the future workforce.

A series of events brought pupils and partner businesses and organisations together to complement the learning.

One event centred around the ‘Build Your Future’ programme pilot project, Reimagining Spaces. Thirty-seven pupils from S1 to S6 have been involved in the extra curricular activitiy within art and design and technology departments to bring to life the plethora of opportunities and pathways surrounding the creative industries and how each of the subjects links to the construction industry.

The project has seen industry partners including Falkirk Council’s urban planning department, Scottish Traditional Building Forum, Arka Architects, Hearth Architects, Glasgow School of Art Interior Design faculty and Mackintosh School of Architecture lecturers work together with pupils, spearheaded by renowned interior designer, Scottish Influencer of the Year and presenter of Scotland’s Home of the Year, Anna Campbell Jones.

Mhairi McAinsh, teacher of art and design and DYW Coordinator at Larbert High, said: “After our initial briefing meeting with Anna and John McKinney (Scottish Traditional Building Forum), LHS teaching staff embarked on the research phase of the project, looking for an unloved building in our local community.

“With two possible options we chose Larbert Cemetery Gatehouse, a small unloved and untouched Victorian red brick building from 1901, with garden space as inspiration for our pupils to hypothetically ‘reimagine’.

"After a site visit to measure up the building with the pupils, they set about making plans and elevation drawings to see exactly the parameters and confines they were working within.

"From there we had a speed dating event with pupils who had signed up for the project to get to know each other. They formed six groups, each coming up with concept ideas for what the space may be reimagined as.

"Some of the ideas were very surreal and very conceptual and Anna actively encouraged our pupils to lead on this idea with no boundaries or constraints in place regarding ideas being far fetched or too over the top or off limits.”

The six different concepts were ‘Stay with us’ – a traditional Scottish modern with a twist AirBnb for families; ‘Stretch’ – a doggy daycare and yoga facility; Bloom Bakery and Florist; Grave Hunters – a haunted house approach inspired by the ghostly goings on in Larbert/Stenhousemuir; ‘Mindful Mayhem’ – a community mental health space to help alleviate stress with wellbeing interior and exterior zones to help people talk and build connections.

Pupils considered all aspects of an industry led architecture and interior design brief and as part of the project those involved will gain a level 5 Creative Industries Skills for Work SQA award recognising their achievements.

The help and support of all the projects partners has been praised by Mhairi and the team at LHS.

Last Wednesday Anna Campbell Jones visited the school to listen to each group deliver a presentation on their Reimagined concept.

She was joined by invited guests including Karen Wright from DYW Forth Valley, representatives from both architect practices involved in the project and other industry partners.

Art, design and technologies teachers from across Scotland were also invited, as well as over 300 pupils from Larbert High and Falkirk district’s other high schools.

After a short introduction to the pilot project Anna gave an inspiring career talk about her own learner journey after school and her own career path and inspirations.

Mhairi added: “Anna Campbell Jones is not only an amazing ambassador for the creative industries as a sector, but also a hugely inspirational individual for us as educators and to our young people embarking on pathways within art and design and technologies.

"It’s really important that we give our young people a wide range of real life opportunities in school so that they can build up their skills to go into a wide variety of pathways post school from apprenticeship opportunities to college or university options or in gaining full time employment.”

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