Tomorrow's Engineers Work On Today's Problems
24 February 2016
A Costain environmental manager is helping a group of budding engineers get to grips with a real-life engineering problem.
James Edwards, a member of the Costain Eight2O team, is acting as mentor to a team of students from Downe House School in Thatcham, Berkshire as part of the Engineering Education Scheme (EES).
The EES links teams of four Year 12 science and maths students and their teacher with local companies to work on scientific, engineering and technological challenges. It is designed to give students an in-depth experience in science and engineering that will help them make informed decisions about their future study and careers. They work on six-month projects relevant to a local company and present their results to a panel of senior professional engineers.
The four girls from Downe House School are aiming to design a model that can non-destructively test the different materials used in pipe gaskets. Having first come up with the design at school, they then tested it in the labs of the University of Hertfordshire and have now used the results to further develop their idea. Costain subcontractor Hydroline Solutions Ltd, a civil engineering and pipeline contractor, also helped by visiting the school to provide an introduction to the world of pipes, pipe failure and testing. The project has also introduced the girls to a range of technologies including laser cutting equipment and 3D printers.
The model is due to be completed in March, and in future could be used by Costain as a training tool.
Mentoring has been a new but worthwhile experience for James: “The girls are super keen and super bright and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. It’s been great to see how their confidence has developed during the project - they’re now bursting with enthusiasm and good ideas. And acting as a mentor has helped build my confidence too. I’m not an expert engineer so was nervous I wouldn’t be able to add anything. However I do have plenty of project experience and that has come in very useful.”
The project has also enabled the girls to find out more about Costain and its current projects. James is now working to arrange site visits and meetings with female Costain engineers.
He said: “The project has been a great way for us to build a relationship with the school and hopefully encourage its students to consider a career in construction with Costain.”
Costain Communications Department