There are numerous amazing construction and engineering projects being undertaken throughout the UK during 2017 and many more planned for the coming years. I have already written an article highlighting the employment benefits of the HS2 and Crossrail projects in terms of job creation and regional skills uptraining (see link below). These engineering/construction projects are only as good as the well-trained, skilled employees who bring them to life, and these huge skill-hungry projects demand a continual influx of appropriately trained employees.
However, it is purely because of these ambitious construction and engineering projects, that the UK construction industry is expected to return to pre-recession economic levels during 2017.
One such project is the magnificent Queensferry Crossing bridge – due to open during 2017. Once open, it will give Scotland’s transport system a major boost and already, during its design and construction phase, the project has created up to 1200 jobs in the local area.
Spanning the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland, the new bridge will be a cable-stayed structure, with three towers each 207 metres (679 ft) high. The overall length of the bridge will be 1.7 miles (the longest triple tower cable-stayed bridge in the world!).
The bridge is made up of 36 separate steel and concrete sections. These massive sections measure approximately 40 metres wide, 16 metres long are 5 metres deep and weigh an average of 750 tonnes. Each one had to be lifted up 60 metres above sea-level before being welded and bolted into position.
The centre tower deck has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest free standing balanced cantilever in the world – what an incredible feat of engineering!
The bridge has been designed to carry cars, heavy goods vehicles and motor bikes – while public transport, cyclists and pedestrians will use the existing bridge.The bridge will be the third crossing of the Forth at Queensferry, alongside the Forth Road Bridge, completed in 1964, and the Forth Bridge, a railway bridge completed in 1890.
It isn’t just all about the bridge either; connecting roads and transport systems on either side of the bridge have received a massive overhaul and upgrade.
The Queensferry Crossing is a huge engineering project, which has seen numerous established leading construction companies, some UK based, others global, come together.
The design of the project involved Ramboll, Sweco and Leonhardt und Partners.
The surrounding Intelligent Transport System, with controlled speed limits, was constructed by John Graham (Dromore) Ltd, from Northern Ireland.
The construction of the bridge itself has been carried out by Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, which consists of Dragados (Spain), Hochtief (Germany), Morrison Construction (UK), American Bridge (USA).
And what sort of jobs do these incredible projects create? Well take a look at the careers below:
- Bridge engineering
- Ground engineering
- Road & motorway engineering
- Transport planning, traffic engineering and traffic safety
- Electrical engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Design engineering
- Lighting design
- Environmental management
- Civil engineering
- Project management
- Operations managers
- Laboratory technicians and managers
- Safety engineers
- Structural engineer
And there are the supporting operations, such as
- Accommodation services
- Transport for employees
- Human resources
- IT support
- Site security
- Business Development
………………and there are many many more!
It is important that people fully realise the employment implications of projects like the Queensferry Crossing. It is not just engineering and construction – there is a career for everyone, no matter what their skillset. Skilled high-level engineers are of course required, but so are people with marketing skills, customer service skills, scientific knowledge, environmental awareness, financial skills, and of course enthusiasm.
We need to ensure that these projects are fed and maintained by a reliable stream of suitably trained and skilled individuals. The government has recently announced plans to overhaul the vocational qualification suite. Let’s hope that these changes have the desired effect and that we see many more successful projects like this over the coming years.