Student Partnership Award

An opportunity for young people to learn about the housebuilding industry and to secure paid internship with CALA.

CALA teamed up with Heriot Watt to pilot a new programme where the students work to design a home of the future.Liam cowanStuart cunninghamClaire savilleMelanie feckerStephen faller former studentCat allison lnd advisor Jackie hunter hr bizz manger


The CALA Student Partnership Award is an opportunity for UK universities to partner with CALA to educate students on the housebuilding industry. The initiative has been designed as a graded assessment which forms part of the University curriculum for construction, surveying and engineering-related disciplines. The project provides students with the opportunity to be creative in tackling the complex problems facing the future of housebuilding, with support from CALA’s expert team, and successful students could be offered a paid internship with CALA.

If you are a member of university staff and would like further information on how you could partner with CALA, please email



CALA launched the initiative with Heriot-Watt University (HWU) in Edinburgh in February 2019 with great success and five students being offered a placement with CALA.

48 third year students from the HWU’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) were tasked with developing their vision for the housebuilding industry and worked with CALA and University staff through workshop sessions to develop their ideas.

HWU students presented their ideas as posters to a panel of staff from the University and CALA. While there was specific criteria for the different disciplines, marks were given to all students for their evaluation skills, reference materials, and clarity of vision and knowledge of their subject matter.

Ten finalists were shortlisted, with the top five students being offered a paid summer internship with CALA. The internships will allow the successful students to work alongside CALA’s expert team, while also seeing if their creative ideas can be put into practice.


David McGrath, Managing Director of CALA Homes (East), said: “Heriot-Watt has provided a number of excellent candidates for CALA’s graduate scheme over the past few years so we were delighted to work with the University on the Student Partnership Award.

“The quality of the work that the students have produced and the enthusiasm with which they have approached this project has exceeded all of our expectations and we’ve been extremely impressed with the ideas they have generated.

“The housebuilding industry has a lot to offer young people who are looking for a rewarding career. As a growing industry, we need new talent and ideas for the future, so to have had such a positive response to this new initiative is fantastic. We hope to be able to continue offering this opportunity to students.”


Easton Arthur, who was the overall winner from Construction Project Management for his ideas on automated on-site construction, said: “I would just like to thank CALA Homes and EGIS for giving us as students the opportunity to explore the possibilities that lie in the construction of future homes.”

Liam Keeble, overall winner from Quantity Surveying, focused on a mixture of key areas, including augmented reality and Timbercrete as an alternative material. Liam said: “I'm grateful that CALA gave the students at Heriot-Watt the amazing opportunity that they have. It was a great experience that let us put our knowledge to use.”

Professor Fiona Grant, Director of Learning and Teaching, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University, said: Students fully engaged in this exciting opportunity to help solve a real problem facing the housing sector.

“The quality of the solutions provided demonstrated the ability of the students to fully appreciate the disrupters of the future and the impact this will have on how people will live their lives, not to mention the skills required to deliver the homes of the future.

“In addition, all students attended a workshop covering CV and career advice, run jointly with CALA and the HWU Careers service. It is clear that this partnership has been very worthwhile for all involved.”


To find out more about the CALA Student Partnership Award and how you could partner with CALA, email