Top Graduates Present 'Engineering Tomorrow' Ideas
10 August 2015
Costain’s top Graduate Trainees recently presented their innovative ideas to senior management.
In total 28 graduates attended the event at Norden Farm theatre in Maidenhead. Split into five teams and headed by a team leader, each group was given 20 minutes to present their ideas, followed by a 10 minute Q&A with members of Costain’s senior management team which included Chief Executive, Andrew Wyllie; Finance Director, Tony Bickerstaff; Company Secretary and Legal Director, Tracey Wood and HR Director Sally Austin.
Using the knowledge and experience gleaned from their own projects, each of the team’s ideas had to reflect the Group’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy, which aims to identify, develop and implement innovative and sustainable solutions to meet major national needs. The five teams and innovations were:
• War on Waste: In order to reduce waste on site, the team developed a mobile app that facilitates the transfer of unused materials between sites that would otherwise be classified as waste. Team Leader: Charlie Lomas.
• Augmented Reality Maintenance App (Project ARMA): A Mobile App which provides on-site real-time data of an asset, giving customers a sophisticated way to manage their assets using modern technology. Team Leader: Peter Brown.
• Engineering My Tomorrow: Creating a single user-friendly and enhanced visual tool to support improved career mapping and progression within the business. Team Leader: Andrew Irwin
• Remotely Piloted Airborne Systems (RPAS) or Drones: Utilising RPAS drone technology instead of people to survey projects. Team Leader: Joshua Finch.
• Tender Submission Development: Develop existing work procedures to increase the Company’s tender success rate through a two-stage approach (one long-term and one short-term) which offers marginal gains in the Company’s work winning procedure. Team Leader: James Johnston
Innovation is central to how Costain runs its business, with the key aim of providing customers with innovative solutions that have the potential to improve their long-term performance.
Based on their presentation, Peter Brown and his team received £20,000 of funding to make their app a reality, and are due to present their progress to Costain’s Executive Board in October.
“We presented the difficulties our customers’ employees have in obtaining the key asset information when they need it, whether it’s to maintain a pump, a bridge or a nuclear power station. This affects an asset’s longevity and maintenance costs, which has a big impact on their bottom line. Our app improves the maintenance of our customers’ assets allowing them to save money, which would otherwise be spent on lengthy maintenance,” said Peter, a Graduate Civil Engineer working on the Hammersmith Flyover Strengthening Project.
Joshua Finch’s team also hit the spot. After receiving positive feedback about the RPAS, his team is now in the process of putting together a proposal for rolling out the RPAS technology as part of a Costain ‘Start-up’ business, in conjunction with an RPAS provider/R&D specialist.
Joshua, a Graduate Process Engineer working on developing carbon capture technology for industrial applications, said: “There was fantastic input from everyone in the team from initial idea development to final presentation. We found that the key to success was to utilise the knowledge and experience held by individuals across the business.”
The original idea was brought to the table by Hayleigh Pearson, a Process Engineer working for the upstream business, following discussion with a HR business partner. Vital contribution also came from Calum Rogers, a Bid Author, who had experience of attending conferences and expo's where the latest in drone technology had been on display.
James Johnston, a 2nd year Graduate Quantity Surveyor working on the Heysham to M6 Link Road project in Lancaster, said: “Our Tender Submission Development proposal was developed to demonstrate continuous improvement to our customers as well as providing the marginal gains that would yield a substantial benefit, all achieved through a combination of innovative technologies and a change in cultural behaviour.”
The event was also an opportunity for the graduates to work with people from across the business and to hone their presentation skills. Andrew Irwin, Graduate Civil Engineer working on Crossrail, said he relished the opportunity to lead a team and to present to senior management.
“Taking on the challenge of identifying a topic in line with Costain’s view for the future and presenting it to members of the Executive Board was very exciting. The preparation and training involved in the lead up to the day offered a new chance to develop our skills that I will be able to take forward and utilise in my future within Costain,” said Andrew.
“It was a really interesting experience and a great opportunity to network and communicate with colleagues that you may not otherwise have had any contact with,” said Charlie Lomas, a Graduate Civil Engineer who has worked on the Heysham to M6 Link Road project since August 2013.
Costain Communications Department