Promoting Social Mobility

1 December 2015

Costain has just completed its first work placement programme in partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), a national charity which aims to help bright young people from low-income background make a promising start in the career of their choice.

Costain took on four students: two worked with Legacy Lead Jeremy Galpin on the Tideway project, which aims to modernise London’s Victorian sewerage network for the 21st century, and two students worked with Tracey Taylorson, Community Relations Officer at C336 Paddington New Yard, one of the many projects being undertaken with Crossrail, Europe’s biggest infrastructure project.

As part of the SMF’s programme, students are matched with a mentor who works in a career they are interested in joining in the future. The mentor gives invaluable advice to help them chart their career moves and some participants are given the opportunity to shadow their mentor completing relevant tasks, which can boost CVs and university personal statements.

The participants also attend skills sessions and sector-specific events which improve their confidence and broaden their horizons.

“The internship gave me an insight into what an office environment is like and what the company deals with besides engineering. The experience has given me confidence to pursue a career in engineering. My week's work experience helped me decide if this was really the career path I wanted to go to. It reassured me that this is what I want to do after university, and motivated me to work even harder for my A’ levels,” said Wafi Chowdhury, who worked with Jeremy Galpin on the Tideway project.

The placements were organised by Mohammed Shah, Performance Improvement Manager in Costain’s Highways Sector. As a student Mohammed benefited from the SMF work programme after spending a week at private equity firm, Terra Firma.

Mohammed said: “As a business, we need to attract more young people to consider a career in civil engineering, design and construction. I benefitted from the great work of the SMF. They helped me gain valuable work experience at a time when I had so many questions about my future.”

Costain’s Jeremy Galpin added: “The SMF did an excellent job of identifying some high potential young people from our local community who are committed to a career in engineering. Both candidates were engaging and improved in confidence. They also gave us some good ideas about how we can make the placement even better for others in the future.”

The SMF are currently recruiting for their 2016 cohort of students, and Costain looks forward to supporting some of this new group of young people next year.

For more information about the Social Mobility Foundation, or if you are interested in becoming a mentor, please visit:

Social Mobility Foundation


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