Construction professionals are being invited to sign up to a ground-breaking new course

May 26th, 2010

nwda_colourA Sustainable Built Environment is a modular MSc developed by leading academics and industry thought-leaders at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) which is designed to fit in and around people’s workload. It is also believed to be the only course of its kind delivered over the internet.

The MSc, which begins in September this year, is currently looking for its first intake of professionals. It will be delivered by senior lecturer Larry Wilkinson, former managing director at construction company Kier Northwest, and Dr Andy Ross, head of post graduate and collaborative programmes at the school of the built environment at LJMU.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Sustainability in the building industry is fast becoming a priority as legislation tightens from both the UK Government and Europe. Politicians recognise much of the wastefulness in the construction environment and there is a fast-growing appetite for change. Companies and individuals who are equipped to stay ahead of legislature and adopt the best and most up-to-date working methodology will undoubtedly become the most marketable.

“We have developed this cutting-edge programme through strong and constant consultation with a panel of experts from UK companies who are the thought-leaders of best practice in this area, so this MSc is a qualification for the industry developed by the industry.

“This course has also been carefully developed to fit in with the busy agendas of those in the construction industry. It has been broken into bite-size segments within a series of modules, ‘lectures’ are around 30 minutes for example, and it is delivered over the internet using a specially-developed software package which is user-friendly and designed to make the learning environment as interactive as possible. The lectures are also stored online in a database so ‘students’ can access any they have missed, or go over material again if required.”

Mr Wilkinson explained A Sustainable Built Environment can be taken in segments, with participants achieving a Continuing Personal Development (CPD) certification by completing one module which normally takes three months, a Post Graduate Certificate (PGC) by completing three, a Post Graduate Diploma by completing six, or an MSc by completing six modules and a dissertation which can be achieved in two years.

The education is delivered using Wimba – a specialist internet software programme which creates an interactive learning environment. Lectures for the A Sustainable Built Environment MSc last up to 30 minutes each, with participants then undertaking work-based learning which is tailored to their own working environment.

Dr Ross said: “Sustainability looks at every element of the lifecycle of a building, from the way it is planned and designed, the type of materials used and the way they are sourced, the energy it will use, through to the demolition and disposal of the materials at the end of its life.

“In developing this course we have also considered our own impact on both those taking part and the environment. We have developed an extremely flexible learning environment to ensure compatibility with hectic personal and business schedules, and the use of a dynamic internet platform means there is virtually no need for travel to partake, only our course induction takes place at the university with all other educational delivery being via the internet.”

The development of the course was majority funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) through the Higher Level Skills Partnership project managed by the North West Universities Association.

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “The construction industry in England’s North West has traditionally generated a huge number of jobs, achieving significant economic growth. The recent economic downturn coupled with concerns over sustainability and the stress on natural resources has inevitably prompted the industry to adapt operations, reduce waste, reduce energy use and reduce carbon emissions.

“To support the existing and future workforce within the construction industry, the NWDA works alongside a number of partners on training and employment initiatives. The new course delivered by Liverpool John Moores University will ensure those serious about construction will have the potential to become the pioneers of an industry that is economically stable and sustainable in its approach.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Sustainable Built Environment MSc can email Mr Wilkinson at: or go online at:

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