Proskills and MakeIT! are very much alive and kicking and reaching for the sky.

Proskills has big plans in motion to celebrate its 10th birthday in 2015, with a new ambitious vision to help support the programme’s growth, reach and longevity in growing more budding talent.  Register for the 2014/15 programme!

To find out more about the student designs’, outcomes and more details on the 2013/14 programme, the MakeIT! Annual Report is now available:

Dovetailed with generous supporting donations from industry sponsors, Proskills has continued to invest in MakeIT! even though it has not received Government grant funding since March 2012. To help create an environment which ensures the long-term self-sustainability of MakeIT! an exciting raft of changes are being made to its suite of Schools Into Industry Programmes (SIIPS), of which MakeIT! is just one, in order to enhance the learner participation and experience, and to ensure the programmes long term survival.

Through curriculum-mapped activity, MakeIT! aims to share the wonders of the Wood, Furniture and allied industries to young people. Not only do students get a hands-on opportunity to experience Wood and Furniture in action through the competition, but they also gain an insight into potential careers, apprenticeships and training that the industries’ offer.

As well as educating students about the different uses of wood and furniture in their everyday lives, MakeIT! demonstrates the remarkable, exciting and advanced technological processes that they often don’t see, but are around them every single day – from growth, processing and production, to all forms of design and sustainable use.

“MakeIT! needs industry help more than ever. With no other funding source, it is essential that the Wood, Furniture, allied industries and sub-sectors continue to support MakeIT! both financially and in-kind. Proskills being a registered charity provides a tax-efficient route to supporting young people entering the industries so get involved”. Says Jonathan Ledger, Managing Director of Proskills UK.

“When you talk with the students and teachers, you realise just how much MakeIT! means to them and how inspired they are by the exciting opportunities that careers in Wood and Furniture. I look forward to celebrating 10 years of Proskills and to working together with industry partners to ensure that future generations have an even better chance of joining such dynamic and exciting industries”.

Tom Brewin, a Teacher at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School, Ramsgate, Kent explains:

“The MakeIT competition process produces a driven, confident, and determined student. It is a very good example of a growth journey which starts at initial idea and finished with a veneered and waxed outcome. For the staff in my department it has re-ignited our passion for our subject and over the last three years has been an essential marketing tool to celebrate student success.

The students thoroughly enjoy the challenge of MakeIT and within the school it has become a DT tradition and the reason to take the subject at GCSE and A-level. During this year’s competition time frame our year 12 MakeIT students work in the same workshop area as the year 10 students. This open environment where the younger years see the quality of the work produced by the senior students drives up the overall quality of work we are producing for the competition. It created a student led learning environment and provides the students skill set needed for success in our GCSE and A-level qualifications.”

Some of those changes have already been implemented:

NEW Charitable status: Proskills UK has transformed its organisation into a Registered Charity (no 1155635) with the primary aim to promote, advance, and provide training and education for persons working in or intending to work in the material, production and supply industries. The Schools Into Industry programmes fall within the aims and scope of the Proskills Registered Charity. This now means that donations are eligble to be tax deductable which has to be good news. It also means we can make limited funds go that bit further in support of the charitable aims.

The new aims of the SIIPS are to:

  • Provide students with an exciting insight and hands-on experience into industries
  • Provide students with an opportunity to understand and experience potential career paths, employment and training opportunities
  • Enable students to access further education, apprenticeships and employment in the industries through a supported approach
  • Provide schools and teachers with current industry developed and curriculum mapped education materials
  • To challenge environmental issues and raise awareness of the very latest developments in sustainable practices
  • Give industries a vehicle to share the latest industry developments and innovations
  • To ensure that the brand is fully protected, MakeIT! will become a registered trademark.
  • To create and deliver a self-financing programme that is free of charge to schools and students alike.

The key ambitions for 2015 are:

  • Programme content
  • Update core programme content to reflect current advanced industry technology and exciting innovations, bringing science to the fore
  • Include more interactive and dynamic content and improve accessibility to content through mobile devices
  • Provide enhanced creative participant projects so as to provide an improved learning experience
  • More detailed study of potential career options and access points
  • Update the mapping of the programme content to the latest school curriculum
  • Offer of work experience opportunities to older participants

Careers support & progression

  • Updated links to supporting careers information, guidance and advice
  • Provision of new careers information packs to support teacher delivery
  • Creation of Careers Ambassadors in schools (advisors)
  • Provide new careers support paths enabling participants to access apprenticeships, further education and jobs
  • Develop new opportunities for employers and industry specialist ambassadors to share careers experiences through study tours and interviews
  • Integrate National Careers Service and National Apprenticeship Service support and help into the programme
  • Implement a tracking framework to provide participant progression and outcomes data and follow-up processes

Programme reach

  • Dedicate more resources to support increased schools engagement
  • Access more schools through key supporting programme partners
  • Extend the age range of participation to include up to 18 year olds
  • Industry partnership
  • Increase the number of supporting employers through a new and sustained campaign of long-term engagement
  • Create new sponsorship packages to drive up the financial and in-kind support for the programmes to make them self-sustaining
  • Diversify the number of industry sectors and sub-sectors actively supporting the programme
  • A new annual report produced and disseminated that demonstrates the ongoing high-value and impact of SIIPS on young people and to the industries included