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Building Students visit NW civils scheme

Students on the Russell WBHO Building Student training scheme got a unique insight into one of the region’s biggest civils projects when they were welcomed by PP O’Connor for a site visit to Mayfield Park.

#ThankyouThursday #NationalApprenticeshipWeek2022

  • Date:
    10th Feb 2022
  • Category:

Set to be Manchester city centre’s first new public park in over 100 years, the project includes the re-emergence of the River Medlock from a concrete culvert after five decades underground as part of a £1.4bn mixed use scheme transforming a derelict site in the Piccadilly area of the city.

Both internal and external site visits are an integral part of the in-house training provided by the Russell WBHO Building Student programme.

John Millward, Russell WBHO construction director, said: “The complexity of the project made it an ideal opportunity for our  young engineers to witness civil engineering aspects first-hand learn from the region’s foremost specialists in the field.

“They saw retention of existing structures, working in close proximity to Network Rail lines and ground remediation techniques, all of which will be useful for our upcoming projects.

“Feedback from everyone attending was all very positive and the Russells Building Students were inspired by what they had learned. The site engineering students mentioned they would like to be involved with a major cut and fill scheme in the future, and for many of the students who have been involved with some of our city centre high rise or heritage refurbishment projects, it opened their eyes to larger civil engineering operations.”

The visit was attended by Stephen Smyth, a Year 5 Building Student trainee.

He said: “We were introduced to the scheme as a whole by the Operations Director who demonstrated the complexity of the project through a series of ‘before and after’ images, and detailed explanations of the challenges faced. This was followed by a talk from the Site Manager outlining the ongoing operations and explained what we’d see on-site.

“We were escorted by the Site Manager with stops made at various points of interest. He began with an area of significant remediation, followed by the civil works surrounding the River Medlock and the retaining structures to the rear of the site.

“During the site tour, questions were asked by a number of Building Students about the complexity of the site, and how PP O’Connor overcame the challenges. They shared valuable experiences of their time on the scheme and the session was incredibly useful in helping with our vocational development.

“It also demonstrated how complex the developments all around us actually are, even something which seems as simple as a park takes so much forward planning  and technical know-how.

“Overall, everyone was impressed with the visit and enjoyed being able to view a civil engineering scheme in full flow, picking up valuable experience and lessons that they can use in their Russell WBHO careers.

“We want to say a massive thank you for everyone at PP O’Connor for taking us round and answering all our questions, they were fantastic and we all learned so much.”

The visit was organised by assistant project manager Jake Ogden, he said: “We have completed a number of internal and external visits for the Engineering Building Students and have further visits planned to see piling techniques at one of Russell Homes’ developments, a sub-structures workshop at Healey Consulting Offices, and a geotechnical CPD event being organised by WSP, both top level structural engineering design partners.

“We must thank PP O’Connor and their site team for their generosity of time and knowledge sharing towards our trainees and some of our senior staff who couldn’t resist having a look around as well.”