Finding Tomorrow’s Innovators
12 November 2015
Costain is sponsoring a new University Technical College (UTC) in London, one of a raft of new educational institutions which aims to educate the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow.
Based in east London and headed by Principal Geoffrey Fowler, the London Design and Engineering UTC will open its doors in September 2016 backed by the University of East London and Employer Sponsors including Thames Water and Costain.
Costain’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy aims to identify, develop and implement innovative solutions to meet the UK’s major national infrastructure needs. Costain’s commitment to developing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects through University Technical Colleges (UTCs) is part of that strategy.
"Working in collaboration with our customers, supporting them to transform their business service and performance, and changing the way we do business, requires new approaches and new skills. We’re therefore delighted, as a key part of our overall new skills approach, to be associated with the London Design & Engineering UTC, which aims to raise the educational bar and develop the skills needed to meet the construction and engineering opportunities available to us," said Alex Vaughan, Costain’s Managing Director for Natural Resources.
Britain is facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation; from plumbers and builders to engineers, there are talent gaps across a range of professions that threaten to derail the UK’s attempts to re-energise the economy.
According to analysis from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published earlier this year, UK nations have the biggest skills gaps between young people who are not in education, employment or training and those in work. The UK had the widest literacy gap out of 22 countries and the biggest gap in problem-solving skills, the report said.
Education is sometimes blamed, often unfairly, for failing to equip young people with the relevant work skills, which is why UTCs are now so relevant to the future success of the country. UTCs are government-funded schools which offer 14–19 year olds a great deal more than traditional schools by essentially bringing the world of work into the classroom.
“Getting the London UTC off the ground is like a dream come true because we’re finally integrating the real world of work into a school,” said Geoffrey.
Developed in England in response to repeated demand from employers, UTCs teach students technical and scientific subjects in a whole new way - by integrating technical, practical and academic learning and creating an environment where students can thrive and develop the abilities that industry needs.
To help the school with its goals, projects will be written by the sponsors like Costain and Thames Water. In terms of specialist equipment, the college will boast state-of-the-art 3D printers and virtual reality Oculus Rift goggles to help with project work.
There will be CNC milling machines and lathes for the students to use, plus a CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Manufacture) workshop. Engineering will include BIM (Building Information Modelling) – which includes construction and maintenance and project planning. The school will also feature mechatronics and autonomous mechatronics, with a robot called NAO.
The school now plans to recruit 150 pupils by 1st April 2016, which was why NAO The Robot made an appearance at Costain’s recent London Roadshow to inspire Costain staff to support the school. If you would like to get involved in supporting the schools recruitment drive, please contact Sonya D'Arcy at [email protected]
For more information about the London Design and Engineering UTC, click here.
Costain will be exhibiting alongside the UTC at skillslondon2015 on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th November. If you or anyone you know is interested in the school and a STEM career, why not go down and meet the team.
Pictured from left: Principal Geoffrey Fowler with Costain's Group Finance Director, Tony Bickerstaff; Legal Director & Company Secretary, Tracey Wood and Investor Relations and Corporate Responsibility Director, Catherine Warbrick.
Costain Communications Department