Karen Usher DL, a driving force behind the establishment of NMiTe (New Model in Technology & Engineering), invited me to meet the Design Cohort and view the former Robert Owen Academy buildings which will become the main NMiTE site off Blackfriars in the centre of Hereford.
The Design Cohort works on several topics that range from ideas on student life (health, sports, culture, community) to input on the delivery of the curriculum; how students will be assessed; student accommodation; academic buildings and equipment; community relations; marketing and more. They are in teams of 5 and work in open-plan offices on St Peter’s Square. The team members are a mixture of gap-year students and graduates, from a range of disciplines. They are 25 in total, paid for their work and an almost equal balance of genders.
It is a pioneering project for the UK, where aspiring students have never previously had the chance to design their future studying environment. To judge by the enthusiasm of the group and the quality of their output, it is working well. The space at the former Academy has great potential, and it will soon be clear how it can best be refurbished and used. NMiTE will be a great boost to Hereford and, it is hoped, engineering companies seeking talented and committed recruits for their key sector in the British economy.