Top Graduates Present Vision For Engineering Tomorrow

16 June 2014

Costain’s top Graduate Trainees this month presented ideas on developing the ‘Costain of Tomorrow’ to Chief Executive Andrew Wyllie and fellow members of the Company’s senior management team.

The event focused on the Company’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy which identifies, develops and implements innovative and sustainable solutions to meet major national needs.

The graduates, 28 in total, met up at Norden Farm, Centre for the Arts, in Maidenhead on 11 June and were split into their five teams.  Headed by a team leader, the teams were separated across the three graduate years, so each group had a mix of experience.  Each group was given 20 minutes to present their idea, followed by a 10 minute question and answer session with members of Costain’s senior management team - Andrew Wyllie, Finance Director, Tony Bickerstaff and Company Secretary, Tracey Wood.

The five innovations were:

  • Co-Pro 3D: Using 3D modelling of projects for tenders, stakeholder engagement and the start of shift briefings. Team Leader: Samantha Evison.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Construction: Tagging assets at every stage of their lifecycle to provide valuable data about Operations & Maintenance service information, including details about installation and manufacturing. Team Leader: Sam Panter.
  • Improving 3D Scanning: Using the Dotproduct Laser Scanner, a handheld 3D laser scanner, in site surveying to create a 3D point cloud map. Team Leader: Tom Fuller.
  • RFID Personnel Locator: How RFID cards can be used to monitor the location of personnel during an emergency or in a hazardous working environment to ensure the safe removal of all employees during an emergency. Team Leader: Owain Davies.
  • Big Data Analysis: How to utilise the mass of data that Costain collects from each project for the benefit of future projects. Team Leader: Caroline McManus.

Samantha Evison, a Graduate Quantity Surveyor on the M6 J16-19 Smart Motorways project, said the inspiration behind the Co-Pro 3D presentation came from James McGee, a team member who is currently on secondment at a design company.

“We explored a number of different options under the ‘Engineering Tomorrow’ brief but James’ experience at the design company proved invaluable as it gave us a really good insight into the practical applications of 3D modelling,” said Samantha.

The event was also an opportunity for the graduates to develop their presentation skills and to work with people from across the business, many in different fields or disciplines.

“The process was a great opportunity to push myself and work in a multi-disciplinary team with people from other areas of the business who I would not normally have contact with,” said Sam Panter, a Graduate Mechanical Engineer and Team Leader of the RFID in Construction team.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to present to the CEO and Directors and receive constructive criticism and advice from the top,” added Caroline McManus, a Graduate Land Surveyor and Team Leader of the Big Data Analysis team.

Owain Davies, a third year Graduate Civil Engineer, and his team also came up with an innovative use for RFID in the form of a Personnel Locator, which was suggested by team member John Rapinet, a Mechanical Engineer.

“The idea was born out of a brainstorming session with the group.  A lot of ideas were suggested but the use of RFID technology to improve personal safety on construction sites was the clear winner.  The process was very enjoyable and it was great to meet and develop ideas with new colleagues,” said Owain.

Tom Fuller, a Graduate Process Engineer, and his team looked at how to utilise innovative 3D technology on site.  They researched the Dotproduct Laser Scanner, a handheld device used to create detailed 3D point cloud images.  It allows 3D images to be created of inaccessible areas and has the potential to reduce the time and cost of surveying.  As part of their research, the team spoke to a number of surveying teams to establish whether the technology could improve site surveying.

“We did a lot of research into the full capability of the product to ensure that this new technology would work with and complement the methods already used by our survey teams on site.  The advice we got from the surveying teams ensured that our final presentation was better and gave us plenty of ideas for use within the company,” said Tom.

Following the Q&A session, the management team gave the graduates feedback on their performance, and how they could potentially take their ideas forward.

Commending the graduates, Costain’s Chief Executive, Andrew Wyllie, said: “As a company we constantly cultivate new ideas and focus on innovation to give our customers solutions. Our graduates have once again shown how collaboration and the sharing of ideas can help us develop solutions to meet national needs, which is testament to the depth of talent we have within our organisation.”



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