In an example of our ongoing commitment to attract, develop and train emerging talent – last week, Careys Civil Engineering and Urban Edge Architecture joined with hosts RTS Construction Group to put on the Educational Open Day at Breckland Retail Park.

This event provided an excellent opportunity for us to highlight the various elements of a construction project to year 10 and sixth-form pupils from Thetford Grammar and Thetford Academy in Norfolk. The students who attended were also able to learn about the value of virtual reality and computer-generated image technology to the design and build aspects of large-scale projects.

Breckland Retail Park

The Breckland Park project has transformed a former brownfield site, which had sat vacant since 2009, into a five-acre retail park. This new facility will house seven retail units, including stores such as variety retailer B&M, as well as a new customer car park with provision for cycle parking.

A 360o overview of a project life cycle

The Educational Open Day at Breckland Retail Park provided students with exciting insights into the initiation, development and completion of this and similar large-scale construction projects.

In addition to getting the chance to handle the latest, cutting-edge technology, students were also able to take part in two ‘Apprentice’ style activities. These exercises gave them first-hand examples of the realistic role requirements and responsibilities of architects, civil engineers and construction managers. Urban Edge followed up this activity with a briefing that challenged the students to put what they had just learned into practice by designing and planning a small coffee shop.

Next on the agenda, our Civil Engineering team invited the students to test their mathematical and practical thinking skills by working on a groundworks package activity for Breckland. We presented the pupils with a bill of quantities for the Breckland Retail Park project and asked them to calculate the required:

  • Volumes of concrete and tarmac, allowing for wastage
  • Areas of membrane
  • Quantities of sheets of mesh 

Tom Wraight, Head of Delivery for Careys Civil Engineering was impressed by the way the pupils carried out this exercise. He commented:

The students showed good practical thinking, and they carefully thought through aspects of the procurement process. Their keen interest in making something monumental from a vast open space was infectious. Just like these students, when I was in school I really enjoyed art, wood/metal work, design technology and was a real people’s person. So, maybe a career in construction will end up ticking all the boxes for them too.

To read about more projects delivered by Careys Civil Engineering, please click here.

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