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Hands-on Hanson training for Building Students

Russells Construction Building Students visit the Hanson plant in Westhoughton

A group of trainees from the Russells Construction Building Student programme got well and truly ‘hands-on’ with concrete at Hanson’s Westhoughton manufacturing facility.

Students in Years 1, 2 and 3 of the five-year Russells programme visited the plant to see first-hand how concrete is made, and learn a series of quality and safety techniques.

They were able to witness the ‘batching’ process and took a tour of the facility, learning from Hanson’s experts about concrete technology. They also took part in tutorials learning how to assess the quality and safety of the concrete which is used on site, through ‘slump’ and ‘cube’ testing.

The tests, which are essential to check the consistency and strength of the concrete, are undertaken on construction sites across the world. The ‘slump’ test ensures the concrete being poured is at the correct consistency to be used that day, while the ‘cube’ test involves taking samples of a concrete slab to check it is ‘curing’ (setting) properly and with the correct strength, without necessarily having to core sections from the slab itself.

Senior Site Engineer Ryland Howard organised the visit. He said: “On-site concrete testing is a vital part of the quality assurance work we do every day, so it is crucial that our Building Students have some understanding of the processes and tests themselves. Even for those who choose a different role than Site Engineer, it is useful to have knowledge of the background and understand the importance of the safety and quality control tests the site teams undertake.

“The Hanson team were brilliant and their presentation really informative. The students enjoyed touring the plant and got a lot out of the tutorials, and we’d like to bring future cohorts of Building Student trainees back here again in the future.”

Trainees on the Russells Construction Building Student programme learn mainly on-the-job, with one day a week spent at the University of Salford. During the first two years they rotate across the different departments to gain a broad view of the industry and insight into each of the professional roles available. From year three they will specialise in one field and complete their training in that department, working on live projects and supporting the senior team.

Russells students learning how concrete is made and tested
Trainees try their hand at the Cube Test
The students received a tutorial from the experts
Tamping the cone in a Slump Test trial
The Russells trainees practiced their Slump Test technique
Looking on as the Cube Test is demonstrated
The presentation from Hanson was very informative