St Edward Engineers Plan to Help Next Generation of Construction Hopefuls
One of London's leading developers is reaching out to the next generation of young women poised to build a future in engineering and take charge of some of the Capital's biggest construction projects.
The group of young engineering hopefuls - all women - have recently completed a Developing Skills for University and Beyond course arranged by the Royal Academy of Engineering, designed to help boost entrant numbers, confidence and skills into the industry.
The students, who are all entering the first year of an engineering degree this term, were given the opportunity to experience first-hand how theory will turn into practice, during a site visit at St Edward Homes' 190 Strand development in central London.
The visit was led by the Deputy Project Manager of the development, Avni Mehta (28), a trained civil engineer, who formally worked as a tunnelling engineer for the Victoria Station Upgrade. Now, she is responsible for successfully managing the running of the site during construction, and overseeing the health and safety of 80 people working to deliver the £500m project. During the visit, Mehta discussed the unique challenges facing construction projects in central London, her role on the site, and why engineering is a well suited career for both women and men.
Mehta comments: "It's great to see so many young women coming up through the industry and for me to have the opportunity to share my experiences with them.
"190 Strand is one of our flagship developments and is a great example of what can be achieved through engineering, construction and the strong team we have here at St Edward. I have always been drawn to the industry because you are able to create something long lasting and tangible and really shape the City's landscape."
To address the UK's housing crisis and meet the growing demand for new homes, it is forecasted that the country needs to build an extra 300,000 homes a year and significantly increase the number of trained staff to deliver future projects1.
Figures from the Royal Academy of Engineering reveal that the UK needs to more than double the current number of engineering graduates by 2020 to meet existing demand2 for labour, with the industry needing an extra 830,000 STEM professionals to replace those that left engineering and construction during the economic downturn in 2008.
The Academy believes that many of these new recruits will need to be women to help meet the shortfall. Despite this demand, the number of women entering the profession is falling3.
Lynda Mann, Head of 5-19 Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: "It's fantastic that developers such as St Edward are engaging with the engineers of the future through site visits and outreach programmes. It provides an invaluable opportunity for our students to experience first-hand the workings of a site and connect with the sector as a whole. When St Edward contacted us to offer support to the Developing Skills for University and Beyond programme we were delighted to have the opportunity to work with them, to enhance the experience for students on the course."
The visit forms part of St Edward's wider strategy to inspire young people and encourage more new hopefuls to the sector. Dedicated initiatives such as the Berkeley Group's dedicated job creation programme have already helped to attract new people to the sector and provide them with the training and skills they need to succeed.
"I am delighted that we at St Edward are playing such an active role in encouraging young people, women and men, to join the industry and provide them with the information they need so they can make the right career choice for them," said Mehta.
190 Strand is the largest regeneration scheme on the Strand for more than a century and will provide 206 luxury homes, offering a range of bespoke apartments, townhouses and penthouses, as well as a restaurant, retail space and residents leisure facilities.
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1Future Homes Commission
2Jobs and Growth: the importance of engineering skills to the economy, Royal Academy of Engineering
3The State of Engineering, 2013