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Your Town engineers

Students from East Sussex College Croup lewes sketchbook

young people + community + engineerS = INNOVATIVE CHANGE

Your Town: Transformations by Young People and Engineers

We want to be able to encourage students to think about careers in engineering through developing design solutions that improve their local area. This project was designed to get young people involved in thinking about innovative ideas to improve their towns, at the same time offering a forum for engineers to engage with their community. Funded through the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund, it involved young people from 14 schools and colleges across East Sussex and a youth group, working with local engineers, in place-based groups.

Students developed their ideas with input from engineering professionals and pitched these designs to an invited audience of local decision makers, with potential to enlist partners in taking ideas forward.


Proposals included an outdoor beach gym, solar lit cycle and pedestrian paths on the seafront, an outdoor cinema, digital tourist/community information screens, an app to promote cycling & cycle safety and another app to help you buy shoes online.

“Really impressive range of ideas and very much blown away by level of detail”

Bexhill (anonymous engineer)


Thoroughly enjoyed supporting the students on this project, the work they produced was outstanding”

Lewes (anonymous engineer)


“Thank you for facilitating and bringing us all together. It has been encouraging to see that we do still have young people interested in a career in construction in one way or other.

Please pass on my thanks and congratulations to the groups, they have done extremely well to pull this together and the best of luck with their next step in education or careers. From my point of view it has been very rewarding and enjoyable being a part of the process.”

Gavin Williamson, Park Lane Group


"I was going to base my session around trigonometry as it is vital to designing solar PV systems and is one area of school where you question ‘when am I ever going to use this in real life?!"

Sam Phyall, Renewables Lead, Hastings Borough Council


"Thank you for inviting us – we genuinely felt inspired by hearing the students’ ideas and plans! I will discuss with our lead developer, taking a student brief into our FunLab"



Virtual Work Experience

At East Sussex College Group’s Lewes and Eastbourne campuses students took park in Your Town as part of virtual work experience and then presented during WEX week.

In Lewes, Art & Design and Illustration & Animation students were supported by local developers Human Nature and ARUP engineer Eleanor Earl, and came up with proposals for repurposing the Phoenix site on the riverbank in the town centre. Some students worked on broad concept ideas for the development including a bridge over the Ouse, electric car charging points, bike hire and a restaurant on a boat. Others took a more design focused brief coming up with designs for ‘parklets’ on the new site which were small green spaces that include seating and places to park a bike. 3D models of ideas were presented alongside posters and sketch books at the final pitch events where Students presented their ideas and were given the opportunity to engage with a professional audience relevant to the project, with the opportunity to receive live feedback.

"The entire programme was brilliantly facilitated by both Culture Shift and East Sussex College Lewes. The work the students produced was outstanding. We were particularly impressed by the way they responded to our feedback throughout, and presented their work at the end of the project. It was a pleasure to watch their progress over the course of the programme, and I was delighted to be involved. I look forward to working with the students over the summer to build some of their parklets and then exhibit their work at our Phoenix Project Design Festival in September."


Lily Holbrook, Communications Lead at Human Nature


Two people looking at students work
Royal academy of engineering logo

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Construction students from Eastbourne developed ideas for the redevelopment of the Bedfordwell Pumphouse site near Eastbourne Train Station, with support from Hawes construction, Arup Engineer Eleanor Earl, and Park Lane Group’s Gavin Gregory. Students presented their carefully developed plans and drawings. These included using the building as a single space with a gym, exercise halls and Café, using the space as an evening music venue with daytime markets and lastly  a young person run enterprise primarily catering to young people as well as the locals, breaking the space down into a variety of businesses from vintage and upcycling to a café workspace and computer suite. The students addressed issues around the impact on local residents, parking, transport as well as the design aspects.


"The Pumphouse is a typically impossible Eastbourne opportunity: how do we make something wonderful out of a lovely building that was designed for something else. The students put energy, imagination and ingenuity into their ideas and have got us all thinking with renewed optimism of what might be. Something tells me they’ve started something good."

Lord Lucas, Eastbourne peer and keen advocate for engineering education

"I was privileged to be asked to get involved with this project. As it was a construction/engineering based project I was able to get involved and give the students guidance and feedback with their very inventive proposals for the reuse of an old historic building in Eastbourne and its possibilities and limitations. It gave me a sense of satisfaction to give back to younger students, hopefully imparting some of my experience over the years. I was able to see it through from the very beginning of the process right through to the final presentation, this was very rewarding to see the students take on the feedback and incorporate it into the final draft of their proposal."


         Sarah Hawes, Director, Hawes Construction Group

A screenshot from ESCG Eastbourne's slideshow

​"This is a fantastic record for the college and an amazing experience for the students, who can move on from ESC with this on the CV and work in their portfolio.”

Mark Watts, Assistant Principal at East Sussex College Group, Lewes

This short film was created as part of our introductory sessions for Your Town in 2021, working remotely with schools and colleges to get young people to think about engineering and the types of careers available in this world, here we meet some of the team of Factory Internet, who have supported students in a number of our careers focused projects.  

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