COYO Headline News Schools

COYO CEO, earns Honorary Degree from Heriot Watt University

Our very own Alison Watson MBE, CEO of Class of Your Own and driving force behind Design Engineer Construct!, has been recognised with an Honorary Degree.

Alison received a Doctor of Engineering from Heriot-Watt University on Tuesday, 10 December, for her immense contribution to the sector and for forging new links between industry, academia and young people.

Alison has worked tirelessly, since 2012, to develop the ground-breaking accredited learning programme Design Engineer Construct! (DEC). As a result, many more young people are gaining real-world experience and developing highly desirable specialist skills in areas including structural engineering, surveying, architecture and civil engineering.

Alison has partnered with Heriot-Watt University in developing and delivering DEC since its inception in Scotland.

After receiving her Honorary Degree, Alison said: “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with the wonderful staff and students at Heriot-Watt University. Scotland is a special place with special people who have a solid respect for innovation and determination. Some of my challenges have seemed enormous, however the support of the University has been constant and I owe a debt of gratitude to colleagues who have shown me such respect, kindness and faith.

DEC & Industry Headline News Industry

COYO and Virgin Hyperloop One forge partnership for learning

The past year has been extraordinary at Class Of Your Own. We’ve been working closely with Bentley Systems, Topcon Positioning Systems and Virgin Hyperloop One to develop a new curriculum focused on ‘Future Infrastructure”.

The first exciting project challenged teams from four DEC schools to design a Hyperloop Station in their own towns, and then in a show-stopping finale, adapt their projects for a site in Singapore.

Students presented to top-class judges, including Virgin Hyperloop One’s Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director, Middle East and India. The team chosen to represent the UK’s young engineering talent were then flown to Singapore to present at Bentley’s ‘Year In Infrastructure’ and meet real life engineers working on amazing projects around the world. 

But the relationship with Virgin Hyperloop did not stop there. Last week, COYO CEO Alison Watson met again with Harj and his team to formally agree a partnership to support more young people coming into the sector through the further development of the programme to aid learning and research.

The FUTURE HYPERLOOP accredited programme will be available for schools everywhere from September 2020, just in time for the World’s greatest show on Earth… Expo 2020.

DEC Students

DEC Students are Pride of Scotland at YII2019

A standing ovation took place at the Bentley Systems ‘Year In Infrastructure’ Awards when young DEC students Faye, Alizah, Ryan and Wictor were called to the stage by none other than Chief Executive Greg Bentley to be presented with a ‘Special Recognition Award’ for their winning work on DEC Future Hyperloop.

The four, from Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh were joined on stage by Head Teacher Jodie Hannan and DEC Teacher Mark Holden. 

Curriculum News DEC & Industry

Class of Your Own Announces School Curriculum Partnership with Bentley Systems

Here at COYO, preparing young people for working life has always been of the utmost importance. By the time they’re 16 years old, DEC students have a breadth of knowledge required by aspiring young professionals and also have developed a range of skills, behaviours and competencies that prepares them for a digital industry. 

They naturally focus on people and the planet, designing for a world where everyone matters and are well aware of the positive impact a great building design can have on a local community. 

Combine this positive impact with the major benefits that infrastructure can bring to communities in different towns, cities and indeed countries, and you can transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

After ten years repositioning the Built Environment as a top career destination for young people, we’re very proud to announce ‘DEC For The World’s Infrastructure’ with Bentley Systems – a new, dynamic curriculum for young people that allows them to design their own sustainable solutions for the global challenges of the future.

Read more here:

COYO Headline News Students

The COYO Teacher of the DECade is…

This year, to celebrate COYO’s tenth anniversary, we began our search for our ‘Teacher of the DECade’.

We wanted to champion the impact a great teacher has on young DEC learners across the UK and beyond; a teacher who has inspired their students to aspire to a career in what we consider to be the greatest industry in the world. 

Well, we’ve had some really terrific entries and it’s been so rewarding to read about their efforts and ambitions. It’s been SO DIFFICULT to choose a teacher that represents all that is great about DEC and education for a modern, Digital Built Environment.  

But choose, we had to, and we’re delighted to announce the Teacher of the DECade is…

Samantha Morcumb of Atrium Studio, Ashburton in Devon.

Samantha’s entry had the WOW factor, demonstrating a broad range of skills, competencies and aptitudes. She epitomises what an extraordinary teacher a DEC teacher is!

Competitions DEC & Industry DEC Students

Bentley Systems Announces Drummond Community High School Team as Winners in First Future Infrastructure Challenge: DEC Hyperloop

Bentley Systems, the leading global provider of comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure, announced Drummond Community High School of Edinburgh, Scotland as the winning team of the first ever Future Infrastructure Challenge: DEC Hyperloop, which took place April 7 through 9.

Hosted by Bentley Institute and Class of Your Own, the challenge included sixth form students, ages 16 to 18, from four schools in the UK whose assignment was to conceptualize a design of a hyperloop transport system and stations for Singapore.

Read all about it here

COYO DEC & Industry

COYO partners with University of Edinburgh and Balfour Beatty to support Castlebrae DEC students

Following recent reports into the value of DEC from Heriot Watt and Salford Universities, it’s great to see other leading universities joining the charge to inspire and support the next generation of Built Environment professionals. 

Huge thanks to the wonderful staff and graduates of the University of Edinburgh, who have joined forces with Castlebrae High School to support teachers and students as they start their own (ad)venture(!) through the DEC learning programme. 

Read all about it here:

Curriculum News DEC & Industry

New report is evidence DEC benefits industry and academia in supporting development of genuine pipeline of AEC talent in secondary schools


Alison Watson MBE, CEO of COYO Ltd
Alison Watson MBE, CEO of Class of Your Own

“On behalf of Class Of Your Own, I’m very pleased to see the launch of the NSC/CITB funded Heriot Watt University ‘Mutual Benefit’ report which outlines the first year of an ongoing academic research project currently being undertaken with DEC teachers and learners at Drummond Community High School in Edinburgh.

The report presents clear evidence of the benefits of the Design Engineer Construct! Learning Programme to industry and academia in supporting the development of a genuine pipeline of AEC talent in secondary schools.

Professor Fiona Grant , Director of Learning & Teaching at HWU’s School of Energy Geoscience Infrastructure & Society said:

[quote style=”boxed”]

Heriot Watt University Mutual Benefit Report

“Heriot Watt University fully supports the DEC initiative and are delighted to participate. Our staff and students involved have been blown away by the responses from pupils.

Working with the young talented pupils at Drummond High School has been inspirational for all involved. Developing their knowledge of the various roles undertaken in the built environment is helping the sector to attract new talent.

The job opportunities at all levels, the use of new technologies and the impact this can have on human life, environment and sustainability has enthused pupils to consider undertaking a rewarding career.

This report clearly demonstrates collaborative working between Heriot Watt University, Drummond High School and Laing O’Rouke is making a big impact, creating an exciting future for pupils. Congratulations to all involved.”


Please join us in celebrating this report by sharing with your networks – Heriot Watt University will issue a press release on 6th September via leading industry and education media channels, and across social media.

[button link=”” size=”large” text=”grey”]Read & share report >[/button]

May we take this opportunity once again to thank you for your continued support – this report represents a huge leap for the Construction industry as top choice for technical and professional STEM careers, right where it belongs!

Alison Watson MBE
Chief Executive, ‘Class of Your Own’ Ltd


Alison Watson to speak at IPSEF Middle East 2018

Class of Your Own’s CEO Alison Watson will be speaking at this year’s International and Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) in Dubai this September.

IPSEF’s unrivalled blend of speakers, exhibitors and delegates create a unique and powerful platform for anyone needing to identify best practice in planning and delivering a new school, and those wanting to make connections with potential investors, suppliers and regulators.

IPSEF Middle East 2018 will be held at the exciting KHDA Headquarters to create a vibrant and distinctly different kind of event. Held over a weekend IPSEF Middle East promises a creative, dynamic and fresh environment in which to meet, learn and network.

IPSEF Middle East
21-23 September 2018
KHDA Headquarters, Academic City, Dubai

IPSEF Middle East early bird tickets

DEC & Industry

CSIC appoints three women leaders to its refreshed board

Seven new board members join the ranks of the Innovation Centre, championing change, diversity and inclusiveness.

In recognition of the need to address board diversity head-on and reflecting the growing appetite for innovation across the industry, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has appointed three women among seven new additions to its governance board.

Alison Watson MBE, Founder and CEO of Class of Your Own Ltd, Jeanette MacIntyre, Managing Director of Indeglas Ltd and Sara Thiam, Regional Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Scotland have been appointed as board members. They join renowned industry expert Mark Farmer, founder of Cast Consultancy and author of ‘Modernise or Die’ – the UK Government Review of the Construction Labour Model in 2016, Dave Philp, Global BIM Consultancy Director at AECOM, Steve Petrie, Business Improvement Lead for Balfour Beatty and Douglas Morrison, STEM and Innovation Lead at City of Glasgow College, bringing the number serving on the board up to 16.