Scottish schools trial Minecraft mod to encourage construction careers

The game originated in Northern Ireland, but the aim is to use feedback from the Scottish trial before a wider roll-out.

A modified version of Minecraft is being trialled in Scottish schools as a way of encouraging young people to consider a career in the construction industry. A partnership between Ulster University, where the game mod was created, and construction firm Morgan Sindall has led to its introduction at four schools in North Lanarkshire.

The game highlights the emerging role of digital technology in the sector and reflects its interdisciplinary nature. Reinforcing the need for collaboration with the built environment’s supply chain, it challenges young gamers to consider planning issues, health and safety risks, structural aspects, sustainability, and cost, when creating their 3D world.

“We are delighted to launch this joint initiative in Scotland,” said Mark McKane and David Comiskey, co-founders from the university’s newly formed Belfast School of Architecture & Built Environment, in a joint statement. “There is a skills shortage in the construction sector and we hope this game will help to promote the various job roles within the industry, from architectural technologists and engineers to quantity surveyors and construction managers.

“The driving force behind the game is to promote the industry to a new generation. We want to attract the brightest talent into the construction sector. The industry is going through a major transformation thanks to Building Information Modelling (BIM), a kind of technological and digital revolution. We are aiming to promote this and ensure pupils are aware of how exciting and rewarding a career in this sector can be.”

The game, BeIMCraft – an acronym for Built Environment Information Modelling Craft – has been introduced at four primary schools in Airdrie, where Morgan Sindall is working on new build projects. The aim is to use feedback from the trial before a wider roll-out across Scotland.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to encourage pupils to develop skills and understanding of the construction process,” said Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall Construction in Scotland. “As a main contractor, it is vital we play our part in attracting the next generation to the industry. BeIMCraft is perfect for this as it takes something familiar to thousands of children and puts it to a new use. We are sure it will be a hit in our schools.”