As part of the Constructionarium week, which took place from 22nd – 26th May 2017, five members of our Waterman Structures team supported second year Civil Engineering students currently studying at the UCL University as they built scale models of the Ravenspurn Oil Platform, Kingsgate Bridge, Brewery Wharf Bridge, Millau Viaduct and the Naples Airport Interchange at Bircham Newton in Norfolk.
Constructionarium provides students with the opportunity to experience the Construction industry and the responsibilities attached to particular roles. Waterman have taken part in the programme since 2007 and this year saw our Senior Engineer Andrew Dickenson joined by Design Engineers, Simona Savastre, Kevin Paldano and Miriam Spatafora alongside Placement Student Rebecca Crocker, as the Designer/Client of the different projects for the construction week. Here they talk about their involvement.
In order to take our roles seriously, we reviewed the project drawings, studied the history and design principles further to reviewing the cost plans from the past years’ Constructionarium weeks. We wanted to be prepared to provide the technical support to the best of our capabilities and, having met the students at a presentation we gave at UCL on the 16th May, we could already sense that they were very thrilled and enthusiastic about the impending experience.
Our role on site included signing off Technical Queries from the students, raised when they had to divert from the original design and responding to proposed alternative solutions in addition to Non-Conformance Reports when construction was not in accordance with the contract information. It was also our responsibility to review their programmes and budgets on a daily basis, charging them if necessary for non-conformances and ensuring that the safety procedures were enforced, putting any additional measures in place when appropriate.
Miriam Spatafora commented; “We all felt very proud of how the students reacted to the difficulties on site, watching them grow during the week and most importantly, how well they managed to work within their teams. Despite the ups and downs, everyone managed to complete their projects on time and to a reasonable standard. For both the students and those of us who completed their studies in countries outside of the UK, or in Universities not involved in programmes such as Constructionarium, this experience was absolutely fantastic and we all feel very grateful to have been involved.”
Some of the students stood out for their diplomacy or incredible leadership skills during the meetings, whilst others explained structural and practical concepts or complex ideas with great confidence, showing great potential. We spotted some excellent future Project Managers, Contractors and Consultants.
As a company, we think that it is crucial to give everyone the perception of what the professional industry might consist of, with experiences that allows them proper insight into everyday projects and tasks. When you are a student, you are very receptive to all the support and guidance you receive, and being exposed to highly qualified professionals might change your life or your way of thinking. It is the responsibility of those with more experience to share their knowledge with others and one of the best comments you can receive is when a student tells you; “I think I found what I want to do with my life” and you realise the part you had to play in that – it’s truly wonderful.
Andrew Dickenson commented; “I would encourage all engineering students, or people hoping to enter into a career in construction, to undertake an experience like this. You have the chance to see real-life projects which you would normally only study in a book and it is so rewarding seeing that project growing under your hands and guidance.”
Andrew Dickenson, Simona Savastre, Kevin Paldano, Miriam Spatafora & Rebecca Crocker