Helping students get hands on experience with temporary works

At Mabey Hire, we’re very conscious about inspiring the next generation of engineers and supporting their first steps into the industry. This not only applies to those outside of our business, but also those within Mabey Hire looking to branch out by gaining new skills and experience across different functions. Read on, as we talk to Jack Griston, Trainee Engineering Technician, and Stuart Smillie, Engineer and mentor, to learn more about Jack’s experience at Mabey Hire so far.

What made you choose to explore a career within the construction industry and how have you found working at Mabey Hire?

Jack: My dad works in construction and my brother is currently studying Civil Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, starting to also make his way into the sector; so, construction almost runs in the family for me! It’s a really interesting sector to work in and provides plenty of challenges, which I really enjoy. 

As for working with Mabey Hire, I’ve been here around a year now and it’s been fantastic - I’ve learnt so much. There’s always lots to do and plenty to get stuck into. Working at Mabey Hire has really helped me to find a pathway into some very exciting work.

How have you found the transition from working on the hire desk to the engineering department?

Jack: My experience on the hire desk has definitely helped in some areas of the move across to engineering, especially regarding the temporary works equipment that Mabey Hire supply. I know each of the products inside out, what the equipment does and what it’s used for on site, so I find I can instantly select the right solution for a project. Now, working within the engineering department, I’m able to push this existing learning even further, to how we can use these temporary works products as part of a wider engineered design scheme. 

There are a lot of other transferable skills between the two jobs, such as good communication. At the hire desk, I would be speaking to customers and helping them find the equipment they need. While here in engineering, I need to be able to speak to contractors and understand exactly what they need from me in terms of specification and design, so it’s a real bonus to have those communication skills. Another thing I’ve brought across is the knowledge of the logistical challenges involved with temporary works, such as where the closest depot is or what stock is held, which has been extremely beneficial in my work with the engineering department.

Can you tell us about the work you’ve done with Constructionarium (the not-for-profit organisation providing immersive training to those in the built environment)?

Jack: I actually got a chance to recently help out with a project for Constructionarium, where they partnered with JN Bentley to task University of Leeds students with building a 4m² version of the Ravenspurn Oil Platform. The Constructionarium team provided us with some initial drawings, which we then turned into an actual engineered design. Using our Frami panel system, we created two sections for the platform, which were a 4m x 4m, 250mm high base slab and a 4m x 4m, 1350mm chamber to go on top of this.

Working on a formwork project, I had to make sure I had all my calculations right in regard to the pressure the Frami system would be under on site, which was a really good learning experience. I’m really excited to see how the finished project turns out and I’m hoping I can join one of Constructionarium’s learning courses myself soon.

How did Mabey Hire’s relationship with Constructionarium begin?

Stuart: It’s a relatively new relationship, with some of our temporary works equipment being used on their narrow-gauge railway line project in February 2023. This latest formwork project is the second time we’ve provided our equipment to the Constructionarium for the students to use and it’s been a great experience for everyone involved.

Why is it important that we support organisations like Constructionarium?

Stuart: I think it’s really important that we all support the learning of students and make them aware of the career options available to them. This is something we try and encourage even from a younger school age, with our STEM Education Programme aimed at inspiring the next generation of engineers through a fun and controlled classroom environment.

With this in mind, giving engineering students practical experience is really valuable, enabling them to take what they’ve learnt from the Constructionarium course and put this theory into practice. A key part of this is getting hands-on with the type of equipment that they’ll likely encounter on site. 

It is also important to make them aware of temporary works and the important role they can play on construction projects, as some of them may not know about this area or what companies like ourselves can offer. Overall, we’re just delighted to be able to help in any way we can, as it’s companies and industries like ours who will benefit from the knowledge being taught to students on Constructionarium courses further down the line. 

For more information about Constructionarium, visit:

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