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Costain Recognised At NEF Innovation Awards

2 January 2014

Costain has been recognised at the prestigious NEF Innovation Awards*, receiving high commendations for the Most Innovative Business Process and Most Inspiring Business Leader categories.

The innovations included a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) game app aimed at raising young people’s awareness of the construction and engineering industry and the different career options available using a smart phone or tablet device, and for COpath, an innovative passenger monitoring and measurement technology for use in the travel and transport industries.

Both innovations earned Costain a runner-up award from the judging panel which included the award sponsors EMC, BASF: The Chemical Company, National Grid and EDF Energy.

For the STEM game app, the judges commended Catherine Warbrick, Costain’s Director for Corporate Responsibility, for identifying new ways of engaging young people in STEM subjects.

The STEM app was developed by Costain and software development specialists 3Squared Ltd in collaboration with plotr, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. The game, which is due to launch in 2014, takes the player through the different stages of a project from design, budget, planning, construction and operation and maintenance. At the end of the game, the app creates a profile for the player to identify what they liked about the challenges and then links their profile to plotr where they can get careers advice and other information.

In its commendation, the NEF judging panel said the app provides “an interesting and viable route for young people to become aware of the career options from a STEM-biased educational route.”

Devising the STEM app is in line with the Costain Cares initiative which aims to invest in young people, provide career opportunities and help the industry address a long-term skills shortage. It is also in line with the Company’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy and Costain’s commitment to identifying, developing and implementing innovative solutions to meet the UK’s major national infrastructure needs.

“We are delighted to have been recognised at the NEF Innovation Awards. Promoting STEM skills is an integral part of Costain Cares and highlights our key focus in helping young people gain a foothold in the construction and engineering industry,” said Catherine.

Development Manager, James Forward, was highly commended for being instrumental in personally driving the development and delivery of COpath, a new technology that monitors the movement of people around transport hubs using the signals emitted from mobile phones.

“It’s great to have been recognised for the work I have been doing with Costain’s COpath solution. This recognition also highlights the culture, support and drive that is coming from Costain’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy and the opportunities it offers its employees to make a positive change for our customers and their business,” said James.

Catherine Warbrick and Katie Swanick, who attended on behalf of James Forward, received an award from TeenTech CEO and BBC presenter Dr Maggie Philbin at the NEF’s ‘Innovisions’ conference recently in London.

Describing the judging process, Professor Sa’ad Medhat, NEFs CEO, said: “The winners were chosen due to their clarity of intended purpose, uniqueness of approach, potential impact, and whether they stimulated and galvanised others. They demonstrated economic value and social benefit, which will help promote sustainable growth in the UK.”

Commenting on the award, Tim Embley, Costain’s Group Innovation and Knowledge Manager, added: “Innovation is part of our service.  The recognition Costain and our teams have received at the awards is testament to all who dedicate time and commitment to providing our customers with better solutions that improve the performance of their businesses.”

* NEF: The Innovation Institute

Established in 2004, NEF: The Innovation Institute is an independent foundation and professional body that supports innovation and the development of SciTech skills. The Innovation Awards were established to recognise and celebrate the very best in UK innovation.  The Awards provide an opportunity for individuals and organisations to celebrate their innovation and gain recognition for the role they play in inspiring and motivating others. www.thenef.org.uk