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Trans or Trad – What is the value of a T-shaped Education?
16 October 2019, 6.30 – 8.00
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University of Leicester, The Attenborough Tower and Engineering Building. eye35 / Alamy Stock Photo
The Building Centre
26 Store Street
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A debate hosted jointly with the Edge looking at whether we need to reassess our approach to professional education to address the climate crisis.

Are we preparing the right sort of graduates for the modern construction industry? A T-shaped education has a broad grasp across all the disciplines and an in-depth knowledge of one. With the climate crisis influencing the education of future professionals, should this now become the norm?The challenge for professionals is to break down the silo-mentality to create a more integrated team and hence a more efficient industry. Some might argue that greater integration between design and construction is more desirable. Add to this challenges such as climate change and understanding building physics and the requirement for more ‘T-shaped’ graduates becomes ever stronger. But the attraction for the traditional courses persists due to the value attributed to the identity and culture promoted by the institutions who set the curriculum and accredit courses. The specialist professional degree is something admired around the world. And perhaps interdisciplinary education is better tackled at a post-graduate and practice level in any case. So are the new interdisciplinary courses a small worthy peripheral variation on the mainstream of construction education. Or a revolutionary model that should be encouraged by the institutions to grow? should we be creating a new construction discipline through which educational establishments can attract a new generation of graduates more attuned to the needs of the environment?

Panellists include:
Jane Wernick, EngineersHRW - chairing
Luke Olsen, Bartlett Engineering Architecture Design course leader
Maria Smith, Interrobang! Trans-disciplinary practice
Peter Roberts, Principal of the multidisciplinary engineering practice OR Engineers.
Faith Wainwright, Arup
John Connaughton, University of Reading
Chris Stobbart, graduate of Sheffield architecture and engineering course.