A team of King’s Cross businesses have come together with the help of Inspire! to launch a new work experience scheme, which was piloted this summer.
Six Year 11 students from UCL Academy were the first to take part in the one-week collaborative programme. The scheme provided a behind-the-scenes look at the Kings Cross development, focusing on the sustainable values at the heart of the project. As one of the largest and most exciting recent developments in London, the 67 acre site is in the midst of being transformed into a complex of shops, offices, homes, bars and restaurants and more.
Led by Argent LLP, the property developer responsible for the regeneration, students were also given the chance to spend time at Global Generation, King’s Cross Estates Services and St Pancras Hotels Group. Tasked with producing a presentation on sustainability at the end of the week, each business introduced them to their sustainable ways of working: from intelligent building design and promoting energy efficiency to encouraging a sense of community.
The students shared the insights they gained from each business at the end of the week. Examples included Argent’s use of efficient skylights and air vents and the local honey produced and sold in Global Generation’s Skip Garden. Ideas for improvement were even offered: why not introduce an air-con system which turns off when guests leave their rooms at the St Pancras Hotel?
The team of businesses noticed how much the students had taken from the placement, with an employee from Kings Cross Estate Services stating “I’m really impressed with how much they’ve observed and learnt…I wish I’d had something similar at school”. One student, Sonal, made a particularly notable contribution to Global Generation by producing his own blog for their website.
The students not only gained an understanding of sustainable design, but an insight into their own futures: one student expressed a new interest in the events management field following the placement, “We don’t appreciate how much work goes on here…I’m more aware of what’s out there and what the working world is actually like.” Surprised at the shifting career paths of the employees they met, another observed that “even if I make a choice today, I might be doing something completely different in 10 years time.”
Hosts at Argent LLP expressed their desire to continue the scheme and implement learning from the pilot project, noting that placements offer mutual benefits for businesses and young people “Work experience is brilliant for making connections… We’ve got someone coming in to do a paid internship with us that came originally for a week’s work experience quite a few years ago.”
You can find out more about the exciting changes at the Kings Cross site here, or discover what hosting a work experience placement could do for you.