Robertson helps tackle civil engineering skills shortage



Robertson quantity surveyor Graeme Barclay (left) and civil engineer Marc Anderson

Two Robertson graduates are celebrating their achievements after rising from interns to managing some of the infrastructure giant’s most significant civil engineering projects.

It comes following a UK Government study that revealed 186,000 engineers are needed every year through to 2024, with Robertson tackling this through a phased programme supporting young people to rise within the business that has been in place for four years.

Civil engineer Marc Anderson (25) from Auchterarder and quantity surveyor Graeme Barclay (29) from Falkirk each joined Robertson while at university, first on 12-week part-time internships, before accepting graduate positions.

The two quickly rose through the business, managing smaller scale developments before working together to oversee the £1.5 million Strathkelvin Retail Park in Glasgow followed by the £7m Acharn Biomass Facility in Killin, with support from the senior management team.

Marc said: “I studied civil engineering at Abertay University after choosing to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I was in my penultimate year when I was offered a summer placement with Robertson, and I enjoyed it so much that chose to graduate early and accepted a full-time role with the company.

“Joining as a graduate site engineer, I was given a lot of responsibility despite my age. I found my feet helping to manage a broad range of smaller scale projects – including the award-winning Cuningar Loop Woodland Park in Glasgow.

“My job is an interesting combination of site management and engineering, and when I was given the opportunity to step up in the business and take on more responsibility to help further my expertise, I jumped at it.”

Graeme joined after receiving a mentorship from a Robertson quantity surveyor while at Heriot-Watt University.

He said: “I was immediately given responsibility, getting out on site and managing some smaller-scale projects, with the support of a senior manager. It was hard work, but extremely rewarding learning how a project unfolds as well as working with other contractors and managing their expectations too.”

Today, Graeme and Marc pool their skills to effectively manage diverse projects worth millions of pounds. Professional development is also encouraged by Robertson, with Marc working towards becoming a Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Civil Engineering and Graeme enrolling with the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

These are examples of Robertson’s wider Young People Strategy in action, which gives young people interested in a career in the built environment a route into the industry.

The strategy facilitates the development of young people at varying stages of their careers, actioned through high school and higher education partnerships, apprentice, trainee & graduate programmes and professional development schemes. Robertson currently employs 479 young people aged 16–28.

Tony Fry, managing director of Robertson Civil Engineering, said: “It is widely recognised that the sector is facing a skills crisis, and measures need to be taken to help us fill jobs as well as providing opportunity for young people. As noted in the Construction Skills Network Forecast 2018-2022, the demand for civil engineering ranks among the highest of any careers within the industry, so having a strategy in place for recruitment and retention is vital.

“The civil engineering workforce is projected to grow by 6.1% by 2024. In the same time, almost a quarter of the current workforce will reach retirement age. Now is the time to act and recruit for the next generation, and our three-phase programme – which begins at high school – will help us tackle this by providing different levels of support and training for young people as they progress in their careers.”

Further appointments in Robertson’s civil engineering business include Shakira Caird (21) and David Newton (22), who have joined the graduate scheme after joining part time in January while completing their studies in quantity surveying at Heriot-Watt University.

Also joining the team is Ryan Hamilton (18), a trainee quantity surveyor who was recruited following a Robertson Young People Assessment Day held in conjunction with Bannockburn High School. Ryan will supplement his traineeship by studying part-time at Glasgow Caledonian University, with Robertson supporting with course fees and flexible working.

David said: “Working part-time while studying definitely benefited my university work as I was able to put the theory into practice. It’s important to spend time on site getting to know construction techniques and how everything ties together if you want to be able to carry out the commercial side of things effectively.

“Now I’m a fully-fledged graduate, I’m concentrating on learning as much as possible and establishing myself in the industry. I’ll also be signing up to the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors to work towards my professional qualification – supported by Robertson.”



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