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18 July 2017

Robertson supports engineers of tomorrow

Robertson, in collaboration with Constructionarium, supported 1st year HND civil engineering students from Glasgow Kelvin College, as part of a week-long, on-site learning experience.

Constructionarium's tagline, "turning theory into practice", hits the proverbial nail on the head; the process allows students the much-needed practical experience to go alongside their theoretical study- exchanging the classroom setting for a real-life construction site.

Spending the week at Sibbald's Training Centre, Blackridge, West Lothian, the students were tasked with the planning and construction of scaled-down replicas of real-life structures– the Kingsgate Bridge and the Westrigg Windfarm. Despite having had no previous practical experience, the students rose to the challenge to complete the two structures within the five-day timeframe.

As the contractors on site, members of the Robertson team were on hand throughout the week to offer advice and support to the students. They were also eager to see firsthand the talent and potential of the young people who will join them in the industry in just a few short years.

Speaking about the students' experience, Kevin Gallagher, Civil Engineering Technician, Glasgow Kelvin College, said: "It's all theory in class. A lot of them don't know even know what steelwork is before they come down here.

"They've never been on a building site before and this is a massive eye-opener to them.

They have to do all their own costing, planning, their own health and safety, and their own building.

I just love the whole process of it. From Monday morning when they really don't know what they're doing to Friday; seeing them standing beside their projects that they've completed and the pride in their faces - I can't praise it enough."

Not only did the students learn the fundamentals of a live site, but they were also given the opportunity to present their projects to the client, just like any other Robertson project.

Dale Lyon, director, Constructionarium (Scotland), said: "Constructionarium sets the students up for a career in construction – they really are being challenged to put their skills into place in a live workplace.

"This is the first time Robertson has been involved with us, which has been fantastic as they understand the relevance in turning theory into practice.

"The programme acts as a week-long interview process where you really get to see how the students are working under pressure at activities that are real to the industry.

We're finding now that the Constructionarium experience adds weight to the students' CVs to prospective employers, and provides an outlet to enthuse the next generation about the construction industry."

When asked about the week, civil engineering student Craig Wallace said: "I'd definitely recommend it to anybody who wants to be an engineer. In the classroom, you can theorise all day long but as soon as you set foot on a site it's a completely different world."

Constructionarium has given the students an opportunity to learn and gain experience and has also given Robertson the chance to further support the industry's future talent.

Finlay MacInnes, site manager for the week, Robertson Construction, said:

"Over the last decade there hasn't been much focus on apprenticeships and as a result, the industry is very much short of skilled labour. So, Robertson as a company is supporting these kinds of projects and engaging with universities and colleges to try to encourage young students and university graduates to come into the industry.