Built Environment Exchange a winner at Herald awards

Judges rate project tops for Outstanding Employer Engagement in Universities

Date posted

2 July 2018


Edinburgh Napier’s Built Environment Exchange (beX) was one of the big winners at the fourth Herald Higher Education Awards.

BeX - which brings together academic and industry partners to deliver learning opportunities and develop construction talent - came out top in the Outstanding Employer Engagement in Universities category, sponsored by SQA.

Launched in 2016, it provides industry internships, MSc scholarships and employability projects with the goal of accelerating change in construction culture. It aims to attract and develop talented graduates to lead the sustainable communities of tomorrow whilst decarbonising the economy.

BeX representatives attended the awards ceremony at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Glasgow last Thursday, which was hosted by comedian Fred MacAulay.

Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive, said the project was an example of what can be achieved when universities work with employers. “Through their creative and innovative partnerships, they are giving learners the best possible start to their careers, as well as meeting the needs of employers.”

John Kemp, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, added that the quality of all of the finalists was incredibly high, and “a real testament to the great work going on in colleges and universities throughout Scotland.”

BeX was created in order to address the challenges of the construction sector which is adversarial by structure, overly complicated by design and flawed on delivery. The programme is open to a wide range of subject areas, not just architecture, engineering and construction.

It provides entrepreneurship and leadership training support and encourages diversification. Further, the BeX scholars ‘go back to school’ and mentor school kids on the Design Engineer and Construct (DEC) programme to inspire the next generation. 

Edinburgh Napier leads on numerous Construction Scotland Innovation Centre projects working with industry. CSIC also provide master scholarship support; BeX has utilised this to engage students with industry and also mapped students on to CSIC-funded and other projects.


Jonathan Fellingham, of Donaldson Timber Engineering, said: “BeX has created the opportunity for DTE to make informed decisions through research undertaken by top student talent on subjects that we lack expertise, where we previously relied upon anecdotal evidence. This allows us to make better strategic business decisions.”

Emilia Givan, of Royal High School, described BeX scholars as “amazing and very helpful when it came down to the actual teaching of some topics. They made lessons very relevant and interesting. It also helped as they are closer in age to the students so students at the Royal High School really liked the scholars as they were more like them than any teacher could be!”

Edinburgh Napier’s iNapier Mobile App was also a finalist in the Herald Awards, in the Innovative Use of Technology category.