Civils graduates future in a digital age.
The increasing use of digital technology within the construction industry is gathering pace. Cloud based projects, building information modelling (BIM), the use of smart phones and tablets on site, and more intelligent ways for businesses to interact via the web will soon become the norm. As a market leading specialist supplier of excavation support systems to the construction industry my company has to ensure that we can recruit civil engineering graduates and technicians with the capabilities to keep pace with this evolving technology.
Over the last three years, that responsibility to lead in all things digital in a specialist sector, has supported the industry to inspire youngsters to study engineering, and, within the higher education arena, to promote the benefits of embedding digital technology within engineering courses.
Through a long term partnership with the University of Salford, MGF has developed a unique system of scholarships, bursaries, grants, awards and work experiences to encourage the study of civil engineering and particularly BIM. The university has a proud tradition of access for all and donors support ensures that gifted individuals’ financial circumstances do not shackle their talent. The purpose of a donation is to encourage students who would otherwise be deterred from an undergraduate degree by tuition fees. It is also to encourage the postgraduate recruitment of students into the engineering profession.
MGF engineers now regularly participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities around the country in conjunction with the ICE, local schools, colleges and universities promoting engineering and digital technology. By collaborating with training body the CITB and Bridgwater College Deep Excavation Training Program for Hinkley Point Construction, hundreds of site operatives will be provided with industry training in excavation shoring utilising the latest digital technology and guidance animations.
While incorporating digital technology into all engineering processes and leveraging significant benefits for health and safety in temporary works design solutions, MGF has participated in BIM conferences, webinars and industry debates to communicate the clear benefits.
The benefits from this approach have included the recruitment of several highly competent engineers; great collaborative relationships with local education providers and communities where talent is underused; and continued work with clients and main contractors to influence training and development opportunities - ultimately to reduce risk and drive cost efficiencies in the construction process.
Technical service offerings have been transformed and resulted industry recognition including the 2014 GE Health and Safety Award, RoSPA Gold Achievement Award and most recently a finalists place in the 2014 Construction Computing Awards.
- Steve Hesketh is MGF engineering director and chairman of the Construction Plant Hire Association shoring technology interest group