BAM Construction - The Malvern Schools Design & Build Challenge

Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick

BAM Construction supports schools to design and build gardens for a top garden show, helping the company win work and adding value to contracts in the education sector.

Social impacts

  • Delivered practical work experience of construction to support vocational qualifications.
  • Created a legacy to enable other education providers to replicate the initiative independently of BAM, as the RHS show has now created a separate schools category.
  • Successfully rehabilitated pupils with challenging behaviour, as a direct result of the initiative.

Business impacts

  • Helped BAM win work and meet client expectations and contractual obligations. The programme demonstrated community engagement, enhancing BAM’s reputation.
  • Provided future BAM employees, through apprentices applying after engaging as students.
  • Provided a professional development resource to support BAM trainees and wider employees, bringing together separate sections of the organisation and improving staff satisfaction and skills.

The Malvern Schools Design & Build Challenge is a truly unique national initiative which BAM have supported proudly for many years. With financial investment directly linked to the achievements of students, a truly sustainable project has been developed in our region, which has supported BAM’s wider community engagement programme, promoting employee volunteering and collaborative working with our supply chain, clients and neighbours.

- Rod Stiles,
Regional Director - Midlands, BAM Construction Ltd
BAM Construction’s Malvern Schools Design & Build Challenge is an education programme which supports schools to enter the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Spring Garden Show. This is held every May at the Three Counties Agricultural Society Showground in Malvern. Students aged from six to 16 and over are challenged to design and build gardens to a chosen theme, incorporating academic and vocational learning from the curriculum.

The programme addresses a gap in practical work experience placements for vocational construction students under the age of 16. The flexible nature of the programme lends itself to include students with physical disabilities and those who are socially disengaged or who have challenging behaviour. It promotes inclusion by bringing together disaffected young people with gifted and talented students, so breaking down barriers.

BAM’s support includes delivering design workshops in participating schools, reviewing designs, and inviting young designers to work alongside the BTEC work experience students, BAM and supply chain employees to build their gardens before the show. The process is embedded in the curriculum and also provides practical work experience elements required for BTEC Construction and Princes Trust qualifications.

BAM developed the programme in 2006 and it was piloted at the RHS Spring Garden Show in 2007. In 2009, the RHS created a separate schools category at the show, which means that any school can now enter.

Between 2010 and 2013:

  • 44 schools entered gardens, with 16 achieving ‘Highly Commended’ and 11 ‘Commended’

  • 25 were directly supported by BAM

  • 19 schools entered independently

  • 36 Year 10 and 11 BTEC students delivered practical construction elements to support the creation of gardens.

With a third of BAM’s turnover coming from the education sector, the programme adds value to relationships with schools and colleges, and enables the company to meet its contractual obligations. It also offers continuing professional development and volunteering opportunities for teachers, BAM employees and business partners – and five apprentices have been recruited through the programme. 

- Private group -