As we head in to the First National Social Value Week, we wanted to discuss the importance of social value in the profession and share some of the key principals. In working with Eastleigh Borough Council and on One Horton Heath, Social Value is something we try to keep at the forefront of our minds. Social value refers to the wider impact of a project beyond its immediate financial value. It’s the social, environmental, and economic benefits that a project delivers to individuals and communities.
In landscape architecture, social value initiatives can have a significant impact on the communities and environments that they serve. Working to design and create outdoor spaces that promote health & well-being, factoring in the social value initiatives in the process is a natural step. In the context of employment and skills, social value can be created through a range of initiatives such as apprenticeships, work experience, mentoring, volunteering of professionals’ time, and funding for training and resources.
Work experience & Apprenticeships
Work Experience & Apprenticeships
Deacon Design is always open to working with students and introducing them to Landscape Architecture. Work experience and mentoring programs can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are still in school or college and considering a career in landscape architecture, sometimes even introducing the profession itself.
Work Experience and Apprenticeship opportunities allow students to gain practical experience and to learn from experienced professionals. During the time with us, students observe and participate in various elements of the career, such as site visits, design development, and project management. This provides valuable exposure to the profession and helps them to develop an understanding of the day-to-day activities of a landscape architect.
Both work programs can help to prepare students for a career in landscape architecture by providing them with a realistic understanding and the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. These programs can also help to build confidence as well as to provide a sense of direction for students who may be uncertain about their future career path.
Mentoring & Inhouse Training
In-house training is part of the social values that can support the development of the landscape architects. By investing in training programs we can help to ensure that all members of the team are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed. In-house training can take many forms, from workshops and seminars to online training courses and mentoring programs amongst the team themselves. By providing opportunities for employees to learn and grow, we can build a more skilled and motivated group which keep to the industry’s best practices. Additionally, in-house training can provide personal and professional development opportunities for employees, helping them to develop new skills and knowledge and to advance their careers within the sector.
Mentoring programs, where practiced team members share their knowledge and experience with less experienced colleagues, can help to develop a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce. They also provide a route into the profession for those who may not have followed the traditional academic path, or are switching across from other sectors into Landscape.
Volunteering of professionals’ time
Volunteering can take many forms, from providing design services and offering public consultations to lectures within universities and colleges. By volunteering time and expertise, we can also provide opportunities for our team to engage with communities and individuals, which can help to ensure projects are designed to best meet the clients needs. Deacon Design often take part in lectures at local schools, colleges and universities to share our knowledge and offer advice to students.
This also provides personal and professional development opportunities for our team. By volunteering their time, we can develop new skills, grow our network of contacts, and gain valuable experience working with different stakeholders and project partners. Volunteering can also be a valuable way to support the development of new talent and contribute to the wider community.
Funding & Resources
Funding for training and resources can also be used to support the development of new technologies and materials that can be used projects as well as for training itself. Without sufficient funding and resources, landscape architects may struggle to deliver high-quality, sustainable projects that meet the needs of communities.
Organizations can also provide access to resources that support the development of the industry. This can include access to tools and software, access to data and information that can help to enable collaboration and knowledge sharing. By investing in new software and the training involved, the team will continue to be at the forefront of the industry and promote best practices in the field.
Social value initiatives play a vital role in the landscape architecture. They help to develop a skilled and diverse workforce, support the development of sustainable and environmentally responsible projects, and contribute to the well-being of communities. As the profession continues to grow and evolve, investing in social value initiatives will become increasingly important in creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all.