23 first-year HND civil engineering students from Glasgow Kelvin College spent a week in a live working environment applying their classroom theory to real-life projects as they planned and constructed scaled-down versions of Durham’s Kingsgate Bridge and the Westrigg Windfarm.

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

They were also joined on site by Leica Geosystems, who provided an introduction to the structural and engineering equipment available to the students.

Gemma Gourlay, director of social sustainability, Robertson Group, said: “This is the first time that we have partnered with Constructionarium, and adds to a number of initiatives Robertson have in place to safeguard the industry for the next generation.

“It’s absolutely critical that we use our position to provide opportunities for young people to explore the industry and identify their interests and talents. In a time when the industry is facing a skills shortage, initiatives such as Constructionarium shine a spotlight on the careers available to young people and so we’re really excited to offer our support.

“The students proved their skills and passion over the week, paving the way for future placements and engagement with Robertson.”

Over the course of the week, the group planned, set and worked to budgets, complied with rigorous health and safety and quality standards and presented their completed scaled-down engineering projects to the client. 

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, 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 weeklong 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 gravity to the students’ CVs to prospective employers, and provides an outlet to enthuse the next generation about the construction industry.”

Speaking of the project, civil engineering student Kerri McCabe said: “I spent the week working as project manager of the Kingsgate Bridge team.

“I’d never had experience on a site before and doing civil engineering obviously you could end up on a site quite a lot, so it’s a good experience to come and see what it’s actually like.

“I’ve learned a lot more about the foundations, which will really help when we’re doing structure analysis and foundation design in the future.

“Anyone thinking about taking part in Constructionarium should definitely go for it!”


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