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Highways England organises ‘construction schools’

Highways England staff in Penrith organised ‘construction schools’ at sites along the £7M M6 improvement works in order to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) in schools and colleges around Carlisle.

Approximately 60 students from Lakes College in Workington and William Howard School in Brampton near Carlisle attended two events concerning construction site health and safety as well as highways engineering, in which the students were allowed to meet construction partners in Highways England’s supply chain.

The two events were hosted by the civil engineering and tunnelling firm AE Yates and ran alongside Highways England’s package of work to resurface sections of the M6, add a new noise barrier, and improve the M6 roundabout to the North-East of Carlisle.

The Highways England Project Manager, Jobert Fermilan stated: “The current shortage of around 200,000 workers with STEM skills is set to double during the next decade and it is vital we play our part in encouraging children and young adults to look at engineering as an interesting and rewarding career.

“It was great to meet the construction specialists of the future and to pass on what a rewarding sector it can be to work in. There are lots of routes into the industry and the sector is expected to need about 1.3M new recruits by 2024.”

The event included a demonstration of an impact protection vehicle, a robotic road maker, and a resurfacing paver and roller and was organised by HW Martin, a traffic management supplier, WJ North, road marking specialists, and Aggregate Industries, a resurfacing contractor.

The AE Yates Project Manager, Ruairi Flynn added: “It was really good to see how keen and enthusiastic the students were to learn about civil engineering.

“We emphasised a lot on health and safety and explained how people need to be appropriately trained to work in our industry. We also explained the benefits of choosing a career in construction and how rewarding the construction industry can be”.

William Howard School Year 10 students were later invited to another event regarding ‘women in engineering’ which was all about breaking down the stereotype that engineering is a solely masculine profession as well as being about how technology is making road engineering safer.

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