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Sowing the SEED at HMYOI Wetherby

An innovative architecture project at HMYOI Wetherby is changing the mind-set of a group of young learners and giving them the skills they need for a successful rehabilitation. 

The project is led by architect Karl Lenton, a member of the SEED Network, which promotes the idea that design matters and can be used to support communities to better themselves.  Karl worked with the Novus education department at HMYOI Wetherby to give the young people a grounding in some of the basic skills of architecture. 

The boys were tasked with studying and surveying their surroundings, before planning and constructing a scale model of the establishment. The tasks encouraged them to think differently about their surroundings and gave them the framework in which they could think about creative solutions to complex problems. Within this environment the boys were drawn to tasks that suited them, rather than designated a role in the project team. 

Karl said: “The first task was to get the boys to observe their environment. I see myself as planting ideas and letting them come up with solutions themselves. We wanted them to think freely and come at their surroundings from a new perspective. Not everyone that takes this course is going to be an architect, but it’s about showing what it is that they can achieve.” 

The project has been embedded into the education provision delivered by Novus within the establishment. Construction Curriculum Leader, Andy Dye has overseen the course and the development of the boys. 

He said: “We have seen how much they have taken on-board and they now know where an education can take them and what they can get from it. They have only being doing this a short period of time and it’s already clear what a difference it can make.” 

The learners who took part in the project have been empowered to work as a team and share the tasks that are culminating in a successful completion of the project. 

As one learner explained: “Straight away we started to take on different jobs for ourselves. There is no one who is in charge we are all just doing it together and doing what we are good at.” 

The education department within HMYOI Wetherby are keen to expand the course to include larger groups in the future, and there is also real ambition to take on larger projects that incorporate learners from different curriculum areas. 

Ben Callendar, Novus Head of Education at HMYOI Wetherby, said: “Thanks to the success of the project we are now able to look forward and see how we can develop our work with Karl. We have begun the process of looking at how the course can incorporate qualifications. Our aim is to keep the spirit of the project intact, but look at what qualifications can be complemented by the work already involved. 

“We have all been blown away by what we have achieved so far, but we believe that this project has even more to offer.”

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