Engineering students given tour of £6.1m construction project

Created 21 Feb, 2017

Students of Community School, who are studying their BTEC Level 1 in Engineering, traded their books for boots and explored a live construction site on one of Cornwall’s busiest roundabouts.

CORMAC is currently constructing new lanes on Carkeel roundabout, near Saltash, to improve its capacity. This is a large and complex operation involving heavy machinery, and operating on a very busy part of the network.

Student Ben said: “I enjoyed visiting CORMAC because it was full of facts which can help in what I want to do.”

Fellow student Rhys added: “The visit was useful because we learnt about soil nailing and what civil engineering is."

These students were able to find out first-hand the challenges that working under these conditions can bring.

Rob Ashton, engineer at CORMAC, has been working on the project since its inception, and explains: “To introduce new lanes onto the roundabout, we need to extract soil and rock from the adjacent slope, but in doing so this creates a much steeper angle, hence the need for soil nails. Further to this, our work area is in close proximity to the supporting foundations of the bridge, which we take great consideration of working around.”

“The nine students of ages 14 and 15, along with their three teachers, were able to see the impressive 13 tonne machinery in operation, which drills the nails into the ground.”

Miss Jacqui Bartlett, teacher of Level 1 Engineering Studies at, said: “The exposure that the students enjoyed opens their minds to the real possibilities of apprenticeships and work within the Engineering sector, locally, nationally and internationally.”

Community engagement and bridging the gap between school and industry is vital in being able to equip students with the necessary skills and experience early on, an initiative often led by government.

Rob Ashton further highlights: “Having myself recently moved from education into the workplace, I can see how important these experiences are for students. It is great to see fresh faces being so enthused by our works, as this next generation of engineers begins to come through.”

Notes to editors:

CORMAC Ltd Solutions has been contracted by its client Cornwall Council to deliver these schemes as their main contractor, while engaging with the local community throughout the construction period.

Soil nailing involves drilling (up to eight metres deep and 90mm diameter) directly into a bank which has a lot of rock. Threaded bars are inserted into the rock and grout mix to fixes bars into place. A mesh is then installed onto the nails to stabilize the bank.

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