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The Lessons Of Waste

21 July 2010

The project team on one of Costain's Greater Manchester Waste sites has taken a group of school pupils studying for a new diploma under its wing.

Students from Hope Valley College in Derbyshire have been making regular visits to Bredbury Parkway, one of the sites in the Greater Manchester Waste contract, as part of their Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (CBE) course.

Costain's involvement with the pupils began when Project SHE Manager, Des Roy, was attending an 'options evening' at Hope Valley, where parents discuss with teachers which non-core subjects their children will take between the ages of 14 and 16.

The CBE diploma, which was newly introduced last year, comprises a number of construction-related subjects that are studied in the classroom, with field visits used to give a practical element to the course. Pupils who successfully complete it get the equivalent of seven GCSEs. The syllabus covers every aspect of a project; from inception to completion, involving the theory and practical aspects of design, the construction process itself through to operation, plus maintenance and facilities management thereafter.

"I spoke with the Course Leader running the diploma, introduced myself, said it sounded very interesting and offered him any help Costain could give in the delivery of the diploma," says Roy. "He got in touch and we decided we could help by arranging regular site visits for the students to offer a practical insight that would help with the delivery of the diploma."

The result has been a series of monthly visits to Bredbury Parkway by the 12 youngsters taking the diploma. "The visits are aimed at informing the students, but it is also important to make them enjoyable. We are, after all, trying to encourage the next generation into our industry."

When they visit the site the students are kept busy with a full programme including presentations from Costain and its design team, site tours and completing learning outcome assignments based on the visit and the information the team gives them to take away. The youngsters are encouraged to participate in question-and-answer sessions with the team which is usually "quite an interesting session" says Roy.

"The site team at Bredbury Parkway has really taken to the kids and a great relationship is developing. Bredbury is one of the last sites to finish on the Greater Manchester Waste contract and usefully spans the full length of the diploma, so the pupils will be fortunate enough to see the project progress to completion.

"The feedback we get from the school is very, very positive; the kids like coming and the visits do help with the teaching of the course." The pupils will sit their final examinations for the diploma next summer.

Costain has, in recognition of the work they are doing on the Greater Manchester Waste Project, received from the Peak 11 Consortium the Employers Recognition Award; details of the diploma and the Recognition Award can be found at www.cbediploma.co.uk.