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23 May 2018

Edinburgh students engineer future careers in construction

Edinburgh students engineer future careers in construction

Talented engineers of the future have completed an immersive introduction to the industry thanks to a partnership between Robertson and the Constructionarium initiative.

Herriot-Watt University students spent a week in a live working environment applying their classroom theory to three real-life projects. This involved 45 second-year civil engineering, quantity surveying and project management students planning and constructing scaled-down versions of Durham's Kingsgate Bridge and the Westrigg Windfarm.

This year also saw the introduction of a third project, dubbed the 'Robertson Pod', created especially for the challenge by Robertson with design and material support from Robertson Timber Engineering.

The project, carried out at Sibbald's training centre at Blackridge, West Lothian, saw Robertson work closely with the university to provide ongoing support and mentoring from the firm's site management, engineers and joiners.

David Cairns, managing director of Robertson Construction Central East, said: "This marks the second year we have partnered with Constructionarium to deliver the innovative and engaging programme that sees young people complete challenges similar to what we face on a day-to-day basis.

"This year saw us extend our support by developing the Robertson Pod especially for Constructionarium, with the challenge capturing the key standard details and interfaces being constructed daily within the industry, using materials such as brickwork, timber and ply boarding.

"The students proved their skills and passion over the week, paving the way for future placements and engagement with Robertson and the built environment industry."

Prior to the weeklong on-site programme, students attended several workshops led by Robertson to allow each team to assign key roles and responsibilities within their project. This included preparing all the necessary health and safety documentation, logistics and programme of works.

They also learned new terminology, had the chance to self-manage their own progress and tested their theoretical knowledge in areas including steelwork, formwork and technical drawing.

Dale Lyon, director of Constructionarium (Scotland), said: "Constructionarium Scotland has been delivering experiential learning for around eight years now, turning theory into practice for the engineering, built environment and architectural students who sign up to the project.

"We are indebted to Robertson on supporting Heriot-Watt this past week on three projects, including the new Robertson Pod – which has thrown up many challenges for the students, but none unsurmountable."

Heriot-Watt students Meggs and Joel, who acted as project managers for the Robertson Pod, said: "What a fantastic week. We feel that we have gained a better understanding of building projects and the problem solving that is required, as well as time and people management.

"There is no doubt that this has been a beneficial week and we are sure when it comes to doing internships and full-time work we will remember the experience and the things we have learned through Robertson and Constructionarium."

Further support for the programme came from GAP Hire – Falkirk, who supplied the small plant and equipment used by students throughout the week.