BALFOUR BEATTY is recruiting school leavers to fill skill shortages in its rail division.
The contractor told NCE this week that it was increasing its school leaver intake to 40 this year because of fewer civil engineering graduates coming through and a high demand for civil engineers due to a skills shortage in the industry.
Balfour Beatty is taking on 16 to 18 year olds who will be trained as site engineers. They will be trained to take up site engineering jobs and could progress to project management level.
'With the rise in university fees there are some very good people who have decided not to go to university, ' said Balfour Beatty's group training and development manager Jeff Keer.
The new intake will do four year block release B-Tech courses with the Construction Industry Training Board at Bircham Newton in Norfolk.
Balfour Beatty is also to run rail engineering apprenticeships, placing school leavers with railway engineers for three years so they can achieve National Vocational Qualification level 2.
In the face of a growing shortage of railway engineers, Balfour Beatty is in talks with Kings Lynn College to adapt its Higher National Certificate in civil engineering to the rail industry. It is also trying to persuade Nottingham Trent University to develop a BSc in railway engineering.
'There is a big demand for railway related qualifications at the moment, ' said Balfour Beatty Rail personnel manager George Law.