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My education snobbery vanished when I saw my brother struggle, then thrive

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During the pandemic I was back at home with my parents and teenage brother for the first time in years. My brother was in the second term of transition year when we went into lockdown, and he was not looking forward to moving into the Leaving Cert years and going back to regular classes. He went to an all-boys school and had never settled in.

Over the pandemic his anxiety grew and manifested in fear about going back to school. At first, I’m ashamed to say, my advice to him was to grin and bear it. Everyone struggles in secondary school, some people are just better at hiding it, I told him. He got so stressed about it that Mam decided to talk to the school about his options. They decided Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) would be the best choice for him and would alleviate some of the pressure he felt.

When someone you love is struggling – especially your child, or sibling – you want to find any solution to alleviate that

It’s hard to admit to my reaction now but at the time my heart sank. There was such a stigma around LCA when I was in school – nine years earlier – that I was worried my brother would be judged. I was concerned he wouldn’t have the same opportunities that I had; college had opened a lot of doors for me. Once I allowed it to sink in, I realised getting him through the following two years was the main thing. He would still have the option to go to college, if that’s what he wanted, by taking a PLC course – which many young people would benefit from, rather than diving head-first into a degree. I had just become used to the idea and my brother was feeling less anxious about going back to school, when they told him they were pulling the LCA programme for that year.

The Leaving Cert was back on the cards and my brother’s anxiety developed into panic attacks. From the relief he felt at having another option, he was suddenly thrust back into the world of booklists and study plans. Like for so many families, it was a tough time for us: I was starting a job from my childhood bedroom, my mam was working from the kitchen, and all the while my brother was suffering under the same roof. I told him nothing was worth the distress he was feeling and that we would find another option. When someone you love is struggling – especially your child, or sibling – you want to find any solution to alleviate that. I told him we would sort something out, even though I didn’t have a clue what options were out there.

After some googling I found Youthreach, which offers an education, training and work experience programme, similar to LCA, to early school leavers. It turned out to be a lifeline for my brother. When I showed him the video on their website, I saw a wave of relief wash over him. My ingrained snobbery around formal education melted away when I saw the tension drop from his shoulders.

I’m so proud to say my brother is thriving now. At Youthreach he has met a great group of friends and has a newfound confidence I could have only dreamed of having at 18. He recently won a photography competition and, with the help of his art tutor, put on an exhibition of his work. It’s hard to fathom the turnaround in his life and the person he has become in such a short time.

It is good to see at least some recognition by the Government of the pressure on young people, and that’s a step in the right direction

My brother’s experience opened my eyes to how detrimental the Leaving Cert can be to some young people’s mental wellbeing. I just muddled through the Leaving Cert – doing well in the subjects I liked, badly in the subjects I didn’t – focusing on my ticket to college in Galway once the ordeal had passed. I was more worried about keeping a thick layer of Elizabeth Arden foundation on my face at all times than anything else. It’s difficult to understand why Ireland’s obsession with the rote-memorisation exam persists. In France it’s perfectly acceptable that young people branch into either academic or vocational fields at 15 – why can’t we adopt a similar approach?

I was glad to hear about the planned reforms to the Leaving Cert last week, aimed at reducing pressure on students by introducing more project work and spreading exams over two years. Although this will take years to implement across the board, it is good to see at least some recognition by the Government of the pressure on young people, and that’s a step in the right direction.

My American friend could never understand how, in Ireland, we are expected to choose our career path as a teenager. In the US, for example, college students usually try a number of courses before focusing on a major. How can we expect a 17-year-old to make that decision? For those who don’t grow up with someone around them who has a career they’re interested in, how can they know which path to follow? Add the pandemic and it’s no wonder young people’s mental health services are strained, and college drop-out rates are high.

As I learned from my brother’s experience, the snobbery around education here has to go in order to allow all our young people to reach their potential beyond the examination hall.

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Verdion starts on logistics development in Nettetal (DE)

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Verdion has started the development of a new €30m logistics facility on the outskirts of Nettetal near the German-Dutch border and Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. The speculative project is part of the value-add strategy of the Verdion European Logistics Fund (VELF) 1, which invests in last-mile logistics and value-add assets in northern and central Europe.

 

On completion in Q2 2023, the new facility at Herrenpfad-Sud 40 will offer 21,560m² of Grade A logistics space in up to four units, with 18,575m² of warehousing with 20 loading bays as well as 950m² of office and mezzanine space.

 

Verdion is targeting a DGNB Gold sustainability certificate for the highly energy-efficient building, which will not be using fossil fuels as a primary energy source and provides charging points for electric vehicles and cycle parking for a carbon-neutral commute. Additionally, the roof and electrical infrastructure will be prepared for solar energy generation. The site itself is located in the established Herrenpfad Sud industrial estate in Nettetal between Monchengladbach and Venlo, directly on the German-Dutch border and within striking distance of Germany’s largest conurbation, the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.

 

Florian Stobe, Head of Investment – Germany at Verdion, said: “Within the framework of Verdion’s sustainability strategy, we determined that rather than modernising and extending the existing building as originally planned, a full-scale redevelopment would better serve this market and meet the fund’s ESG standards. We are already seeing a great deal of interest in the new space, based on its strategic location and the strength of demand for last-mile distribution space for customers in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. With this strategy in Nettetal and other assets in the VELF 1 fund coming forward, we are creating value at the same time as providing new space in undersupplied markets.”

 

 

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LaSalle and Accumulata to develop Munich’s first hybrid timber office building (GB)

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LaSalle Investment Management, acting in collaboration with ACCUMULATA Real Estate Group, will develop Munich’s first hybrid timber office building. The building is being constructed on behalf of Encore+, LaSalle’s flagship pan-European fund. Situated on Elsenheimerstrasse in the city’s Westend district, the office building will have a floor area of approximately 16,000m². With dismantling of the existing building on site already underway and construction due to begin in the third quarter of this year, the project is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2024. Lettings are already being marketed in collaboration with CBRE, the lead estate agent.

 

Designed by the leading Munich-based architectural firm Oliv Architekten, the asset will provide flexible, multifunctional spaces including a ground-floor café/bistro and landscaped roof terrace, as well as various wellness amenities, including a yoga studio and a relaxation lounge. Tenants will also enjoy bicycle parking, electric charging points and a smart underground car parking facility. Furthermore, the building will provide customisable office units and creative collaboration spaces, ensuring the asset is well-positioned for the future.

 

In terms of its environmental credentials, the project meets the highest sustainability standards across all areas, including construction, materials and operations. Having already received a DGNB “Platinum” precertification, the asset will be constructed using concrete reclaimed from the existing building currently situated at this location. All materials used in construction will be documented in a material passport, showing where and how the various components were sourced and installed, ensuring they can be repurposed at the end of their service life. These measures are projected to reduce embodied carbon by up to 25%. Embodied carbon will be low at 366kg CO2e/m², significantly below the RICS Building Carbon Database (offices) average benchmark of 1291kg CO2e/m².

 

The use of timber in the building’s load-bearing structure will ensure that approximately 1,100 tonnes of carbon will remain stored in the building fabric, rather than emitted into the atmosphere. During the course of the asset’s lifespan, emissions associated with the building’s operation will be reduced by 65% in comparison to a typical office building through the integration of a photovoltaic system, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems and the use of a ground water heat pump. The building will also harvest and store rainwater, supplying irrigation systems for the benefit of surrounding green areas.

 

David Ironside, Fund Manager of Encore+ at LaSalle Investment Management, commented: “This is an industry-leading and best-in-class project. The first of its kind in Munich, its design in accordance with circular economy principles and resource-conserving operation will serve as a benchmark in sustainable real estate. Located in one of the most sought-after office submarkets in Munich, the property will be extremely well placed to meet the ever-evolving demands of future tenants around sustainability, quality, amenities and infrastructure while providing attractive long-term returns for our investors.”

 

Markus Diegelmann, Managing Partner at ACCUMULATA Real Estate Group, added: “The start of demolition marks an exciting first step in the development of what will be one of the most sustainable office projects in Munich. At ACCUMULATA, we aim to promote the concepts of urban mining and the circular economy within the construction sector and this project is firmly aligned with this objective. By utilising ultra-high-quality and recyclable materials, we are creating an office building that can meet occupiers’ shifting requirements, both in terms of flexible working environments and sustainability standards.”

 

Georg Illichmann, Managing Director at CBRE GmbH, said: “As the first hybrid timber office building to be constructed in Munich, the project achieves all the modern-day requirements tenants demand from office buildings: easy accessibility to public transport, sustainability credentials and working spaces that promote communication, creativity and innovation. The building’s use of timber, unique to the Munich office market, will not only support the building’s sustainability credentials but also the wellbeing of occupiers. At CBRE, we are proud to be leading on the marketing of this unique asset and be involved in ground-breaking project in the German real estate market as the lead estate agent.”

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Cain provides €99.7m for London office development (GB)

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Cain International has agreed an €99.7m (£86m) development loan with BauMont Real Estate Capital  and YardNine for the development of a 95,000ft² highly sustainable, best in class office-scheme at 100 Fetter Lane in central London known as ‘Edenica’. The asset was acquired by BauMont in January 2021 with development partner, YardNine. Located in City Mid-town, in close proximity to Farringdon, the development benefits from easy access to the newly opened Elizabeth Line via Farringdon, as well as City Thameslink and Chancery Lane stations, with a diverse range of cultural, leisure, retail and educational amenities nearby.

 

The asset received planning consent in September 2021 for the delivery of a new 12-storey development, with over 8,000ft² of roof gardens, a new pedestrian route and garden square at ground level, alongside more than 230 cycle spaces. In addition to the light filled workspace the scheme will include a new café and F&B uses.

 

The building, situated at 100 Fetter Lane, has been named ‘Edenica’, a reference to the extensive outdoor spaces which form part of the scheme and adjoin it. The project is targeting the highest environmental standards of BREEAM Outstanding, WiredScore, SmartScore and WELL certifications.  Sustainability, technology and wellbeing are extensively incorporated into the design. This includes voluminous office space with clear heights of over 3 metres, openable windows to enable mixed-mode ventilation, extensive planted terraces to encourage biodiversity and provide significant external breakout spaces, facilities to encourage active modes of travel, and high-performance 100% electric building designed with the Waterman Group to ensure the building uses as little energy as possible and achieves Net Zero carbon emissions in use. Construction work has commenced on site and the scheme is due for completion in Summer 2024. 

 

Tanja Yerolemou-Ennsgraber, Senior Vice President – Real Estate Finance at Cain International, said: “We are excited to partner with an experienced sponsor and developer duo, joining their journey to deliver a best-in class office scheme. The project embraces the needs and desires of the future occupier, being mindful about their experience and bringing it to the fore. BauMont and YardNine have successfully unlocked a fantastic development opportunity and we are pleased to bring our construction financing expertise to the table and see Edenica unfold.” 

 

Damien Pasini, Director at BauMont Real Estate Capital said: “Following the recepit of planning permission last year, securing development financing is another significant milestone for 100 Fetter Lane. We look forward to working with Cain and YardNine to deliver a highly sustainable and innovative workplace in one of Central London’s most vibrant submarkets.”

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