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Youth scheme shadows major project

Engineers, youth workers and young people in Croydon, south London have built a mini version of the Cannon Place development above Cannon Street station as part of a project to stimulate interest in civil engineering careers.

The project was developed as part of the ICE’s president’s apprentices scheme and was piloted in Croydon last month

A partnership of industry and youth specialists joined forces to mentor the young people. It included apprentices from Laing O’Rourke and Mott MacDonald, and youth engagement organisation Serious About Youth. programme, called Croydon Construkt provided 22 individuals aged between 16 and 24 with skills and training at Croydon College.

During the Cannon Place project, the participants were introduced to engineering design, planning and costing practices, and building information modelling.

The group was also visited by ICE President David Balmforth and immediate past president Geoff French.


The project was the brainchild of Sakthy Selvakumaran, a 2013/14 ICE president’s apprentice.

It was developed in collaboration with her Laing O’Rourke colleague Paul Matthews.

“It’s been such a pleasure to spend time with an incredibly enthusiastic bunch of young people,” said Selvakumaran.

“I think it’s great for the kids to be mentored by apprentices who aren’t a million miles away from them in age. Hopefully we’ve managed to inspire a few to think about a career in engineering.”

The week included an event at the ICE award winning Cannon Place development, putting into context the group’s work throughout the project. The event also offered the group the opportunity to meet engineers across a range of ages and backgrounds.

The participants will now be supported in making their next career steps and provided with work experience with Laing O’Rourke, Mott MacDonald, Elliott Wood and Arup.

Laing O’Rourke subsidiary Select Plant Hire was the event’s main sponsor. Its managing director Paul McNerney said: “Croydon Construkt has proved a huge success and I hope this is the first of many to come. We as an industry must constantly strive to inspire the next generation, and initiatives such as
this play a huge part in showcasing what a vibrant and exciting industry we work in to the wider community and young people in particular.”

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