The nail biting wait for exam results is over… what’s next?
Author: Jeremy Galpin, Legacy Lead and Skills and Employment Manager
Well it’s that time of year again when those of us with children or involved in the education sector hold our breath as we wait for the exam results to be announced. For almost everybody this will involve some flashback to the past and their own experience. For me, it reminds me of ‘first love distractions!’ and a lack of real focus and direction in my A-levels leading to a happy four years at my ‘back up’ university choice! This has led to a successful career where my early academic stuttering has driven me to obtain chartered status with two professional institutions and from this October to study for a Masters, which have all been supported by Costain. So there is hope for us all!
For you, the experience may have been different but whatever it was it’s likely to have had an impact on your future, your career and your behaviour. Wouldn’t you agree?
For me, the annual ritual has become even more significant as the youngest of my four children received his A-level results but I am also chair of the London Design and Engineering UTC (LDE UTC) on behalf of Costain. This means that not only am I awaiting the outcome of my son’s results but I am very conscious of the responsibility I have for the results of all the students at the LDE UTC.
Costain’s purpose is to improve people’s lives by deploying technology-based solutions to meet urgent national needs across the UK’s energy, water and transport infrastructures. Through our commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) education across the UK and specifically our involvement with the LDE UTC, we are enabling young people, from one of the most disadvantaged and diverse communities in the East of London, to study at a new school focused on design and engineering and then providing them with exciting job opportunities. Costain has over 70 apprentices across the UK and this year we are delighted that three of our new project recruits came from the LDE UTC.
Andy Haldane, The Bank of England’s chief economist, has predicted that ‘the “fourth industrial revolution” (the rise of artificial intelligence) will be on a much greater scale than those that played out in the 18th to 20th centuries and would lead to widespread job losses and societal changes. Our students are however equipped with the understanding of technology and the skills to take on the new jobs that will appear and need not fear this future.
The LDE UTC students will become the future employees that assist us in delivering smart infrastructure solutions for our clients and increasingly working in the new areas that Costain is winning work in such as connected autonomous vehicles [CAV]. The life improvement for these young people is measurable and tangible and adding real business value.
As Costain transforms into the UK’s leading smart infrastructure solutions company, it’s crucial that we secure the pipeline of digital skills for the future. Through our involvement with the LDE UTC we are also in partnership with the University of East London (UEL) and this provides us with a unique opportunity to shape the education of our future talent. Our apprentice centre is an integrated part of the school and we are working closely with UEL to provide a seamless offering from level three to level seven, ensuring the investment of time we put in to curriculum development is rewarded. This time also benefits our existing employees as we have 208 staff improving their skills levels at university and colleges across the UK including UEL. Through these partnerships and our sponsorship of 24 PhD students who are undertaking leading-edge and targeted research at renowned universities including Cambridge, Imperial College and Edinburgh, we are transforming into a smart infrastructure solutions company.
Costain is a great place to work and our STEM volunteering has an important part to play in our employee engagement. In collaboration with our joint venture partners and clients, we have delivered over 679 hours of volunteering for the LDE UTC including 18 industry mentors. Across the UK, industry as a whole has been collaborating with multiple stakeholders including education, the government and professional institutions to increase the take up of STEM subjects and the great news for us all is that it’s working!
The latest A-level results announced by the Government included the following
- Maths continues to be the most popular subject at A-Level, with the number of entries up 2.5% on last year – up 26.8% compared to 2010
- Entries into STEM subjects continue to rise, up 3.4% on last year and up 24% since 2010.
I am proud to be part of Costain’s commitment to developing new skills for the UK and ensuring that students have the best possible future.
So, at this time of exam results do look out for the students in your network of family and business. Honour their achievements and support them in their challenges and perhaps consider what more you could do to give back?
- Mark Bridge, T. (2018). AI will cost jobs on grand scale, says Bank of England chief economist. [online] Thetimes.co.uk. Available at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/artificial-intelligence-has-a-dark-side-andy-haldane-warns-6pbh2czw5 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].
- GOV.UK. (2018). Next generation of young people gaining the skills Britain needs. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-generation-of-young-people-gaining-the-skills-britain-needs [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].