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Costain commits to improving one million lives by 2030

21 February 2024

  • Social value plan aims to maximise positive outcomes for communities, the planet and people. 

Costain, the infrastructure solutions company, has launched its Social Value Plan, which aims to improve the lives of one million people by the end of the decade. 

Costain has a strong track record of creating connected, sustainable infrastructure solutions, transforming UK sectors such as road, rail, energy and water for the benefit of people and the planet. The company’s new social value plan is aimed at maximising the positive impact that Costain can make to people and communities, in addition to those that directly benefit from the projects that the company delivers.  

Catherine Warbrick, chief people and sustainability officer at Costain, said: “For more than 150 years Costain has been involved in delivering the UK’s most complex and critical infrastructure projects that create enormous value to communities and people. We also have a responsibility to ensure that we are leaving a positive legacy and delivering social, economic and environmental benefits above and beyond what is required to complete a project. 

“Our renewed approach to leaving a positive legacy is redefining how we engage with our communities, people, and stakeholders and scaling-up the social value we create. We are measuring, monitoring and reporting our progress and outcomes, ensuring we make a positive impact on one million people by the end of the decade.” 

Much of the impact to date has and will continue to be achieved through Costain’s partnerships with more than 40 charities, social enterprises and schools across the UK, including the Samaritans, Prince’s Trust and Business in the Community. Recent initiatives have included: 

  • Helping thousands of pupils and students across the UK’s schools and colleges. This includes Costain being a founding partner of the London Design and Engineering Technical College, supporting educational routes to a technical career in infrastructure and engineering. In 2023, Costain was involved in an employer-led project with the college, hosting more than 100 Year 9 pupils aged 13-14 years-old at a major infrastructure project site where they saw first-hand where a STEM education could lead. The pupils learned about the lifecycle of a complex construction project, including design, planning, sustainable materials, health and safety, stakeholder engagement and logistics, and they incorporated this information into engineering assignments following the visit. As well as enhancing their understanding of the built environment, the pupils were also given valuable feedback by Costain’s people on their end-of-project presentations, supporting their development of transferable skills while improving their technical knowledge.
  • Costain has helped narrow the literacy gap through funding initiatives such as the Chapter One online reading volunteer programme, working with its supply chain partners including Heidelberg Materials. By providing one-to-one reading support for children in schools through weekly 30-minute sessions, Costain’s people engage with the same child for each session, using an online library to ensure comprehensive literacy assistance. This has resulted in notable improvements in children’s reading abilities and confidence levels, with 59% of pupils working at or above the expected literacy level at the end of the programme compared to just 34% at the start.   
  • Costain has been in partnership with Building Heroes, the Armed Forces charity, since 2022. This Onsite Skills Academy initiative in the North East of England helps service leavers and veterans gain valuable skills and qualifications in construction. After receiving training at Costain’s Hub in Blaydon-on-Tyne, where the company is working with National Highways to upgrade the A1 around Newcastle, graduates obtained the National Open Collect Network (NOCN) accredited Streetworks Excavation and Reinstatement and L1 Award in Health & Safety in Construction, enabling them to secure their Green CSCS Card. This effort saw 96 veterans and transitioners graduating by the end of 2023, with the majority finding employment or pursuing further training in construction.
  • Fundraising and volunteering efforts from Costain’s people raised more than £247,000, which could help fund up to 50,000 calls to Samaritans, giving vital support to thousands of people in need. 

Julie Bentley, chief executive officer, Samaritans commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the support of Costain employees across the group. This latest fundraising campaign to raise £247,000 is a huge achievement and will have a massive impact on our ability to recruit more volunteers and answer calls from people struggling to cope. 

“Throughout the campaign, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with some fantastic people who have joined in the 24/7 campaign by running marathons, organising bake sales, giving their time as listening volunteers and spreading the message that whatever you’re going through a Samaritan will be there to listen. 

“To every single member of staff who took part in the campaign, I’d like to say a personal thank you. It’s because of people like you that our volunteers are able to be there 24/7 and we cannot thank you enough.”  

Data-driven social value 

As part of its social value plan, Costain is investing in a new software platform to accurately measure social value impact, benchmarking it with third party data. The platform, to be rolled out later this year, will enable Costain’s people to document and log volunteering efforts and record the positive societal and environmental impacts achieved at every stage of the projects they are working on. 

Claire Chapman, group social value manager at Costain, added: “Gathering real time data from our people who are volunteering, or from our community programmes, enables us to understand the real impact we are making to local communities and the environment. With improved measurement accuracy, we will be able to benchmark our involvement by comparing the outcomes and performance of one project against similar schemes. Not only will this help us identify where there may be further opportunities for us to increase social value in the future, but it will also help foster a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation.”  




Enquiries: Media enquiries: George Parrett [email protected]

Notes to editors

Please see the following link to Costain’s Social Value Plan

About Costain

Costain helps to improve people’s lives by creating connected, sustainable infrastructure that enables people and the planet thrive. We shape, create, and deliver pioneering solutions that transform the performance of the infrastructure ecosystem across the UK’s energy, water, transportation, and defence markets.

We are organised around our customers anticipating and solving their challenges and helping to improve performance. By bringing together our unique mix of construction, consulting, and digital experts we engineer and deliver sustainable, efficient, and practical solutions.