Reflecting on the Insights programme

We have just come to the end of our PLACED Academy Insights programme, a new series of free online events for people aged 13-19 interested in careers in design and the built environment, and what a success it has been!

When a second national lockdown and closure of schools and colleges was announced in early January, we understood the impact this would have on our young people, and in particular on opportunities for work experience. We felt compelled to do what we could to connect those interested in a career in the built environment with industry professionals in some way. We reached out to our fantastic ambassador network and with thanks to their incredible support, were able to host nine free online Q&A sessions. These zoom webinars presented an opportunity for young people to hear from a panel of professionals, learn more about the range of opportunities and pathways into the sector as well as ask some of their burning questions.

A total of 28 inspirational speakers at all stages in their careers took part in the programme, from recent planning graduates to architects heading up national design practices. At each event, our panel gave insight into their job, shared some of their work, talked about their career journey, successes and challenges and offered some invaluable tips. Throughout the programme, a total of 364 young people from across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales zoomed in to hear industry professionals debunk myths, challenge misconceptions, and open their minds to the different opportunities out there and available to them.

“It was really inspiring and educating. It was inclusive and was nice to know that there are successful people in a field I want to go into who were, at one point, in my position.”

Insights attendee, Diversity in the built environment

With a total of 126 questions asked and a 92% satisfaction rate from our feedback surveys across all events, we can conclude that the young people valued this opportunity to hear from and connect with those already in the working world. 98% said they would recommend the sessions with many commenting that they felt “more informed”, “inspired”, “confident” and “reassured” after attending an event.

All of the events were recorded and can be found on the Insights Videos link here.

We are delighted with the feedback from our participants, and we hope you enjoyed it as much as us!

“I feel reassured and now know to just do what I love.”

Insights attendee, What’s it like to be an Architect?

The 2021 Environmental Academy

Throughout our work, young people repeatedly put the environment at the top of their agenda to make better places and happier communities. PLACED are therefore thrilled to have been successful in a receiving funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and Metro Mayor to support the development and delivery of the Environmental Academy, a programme that puts sustainability and the environment at its heart.

The Environmental Academy will commence in June 2021 and will support youth-led advocacy in the urgent conversation around the Climate Crisis. It will commence with an intensive programme of digital and face-to-face design workshops, expert talks, professional development sessions and the creation of awareness raising campaign. 

This will lead to a youth-led community engagement exhibition in late summer – face-to-face, online or a combination – that will allow the young people to engage with the wider public about what they have learnt and what they would like to find out that could lead to more sustainable places to live, work and play. This will include the development of a website and school resources and activities.

Applying to the Academy

We will be opening for applications for the Academy shortly. To register an interest in applying please contact

Sponsor the Environmental Academy

It is our ambition to further the activity supported by the LCRCA and Metro Mayor through an expanded programme, running from September until December 2021. The additional activity will challenge participants to respond to the outcomes of the community engagement exhibition: a crucial aspect of iterative design which is responsive to the views and feelings of communities.

The participants will be supported in developing collaborative designs in groups with the support of the PLACED team and a dedicated mentor, who will help them consider the feedback from their engagement event and their ambitions for environmental designs. These will then be presented to an audience to develop their confidence, teamwork and public speaking skills

We are looking for sponsorship to enable us to deliver this extended programme of design workshops and activity. Please get in touch with Jo at for more information.

Please check back for further updates on this project by checking this blog and following us on twitter!

Insights videos

We have been delighted with the response to our PLACED Insights programme, and overwhelmed with the generosity of our speakers who have given their time to talk about their experiences, education and careers in the built environment.

As promised, we recorded the videos from these sessions which you can view below.

Career in Architecture

Urban Design and Planning

Diversity in the Built Environment

A career in Planning

Opportunities in Construction

Women in the built environment

Career Pathways

Building a portfolio

Being your own boss