Learning how the past is shaping the future at ABP Southampton

February 1, 2017

ABP Southampton Project Engineer, Connor Smith, with students from Applemore Technology College.
Youngsters from Applemore Technology College in Dibden Purlieu discovered how the past is shaping the future when they visited ABP Southampton.

Year 10 Design and Technology students put on hard hats and hi-vis vests for their tour of the site which was once the home of the world’s largest dry dock dating back to 1895 situated in the Port of Southampton.

Filled in for many decades, preparing the site for piling and construction as part of the wider £50m project to transform and expand the vehicle handling facilities at Southampton has provided an interesting challenge for construction company Morgan Sindall.

It is the first time pupils from the school have been to the port. The visit came about as a result of the Enterprise Advisor Network, promoted by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, which is designed to link schools and colleges with employers and bring the world of work into the classroom.

ABP Southampton Project Engineer, Connor Smith is an Enterprise Adviser and helped to organise the visit.

“Working with schools like Applemore is a great way for us to be able to show young people what goes on in the port and the career opportunities.

“I did a BTEC national diploma at college and went on to do a BEng civil engineering degree. At the age of 26 I am now working on major projects like this – and I am keen to show young people the exciting range of career options at the port,” he said.

The Applemore students were shown by Morgan Sindall’s Senior Site Manager Steve Plumb what needed to happen underground to make the site safe to build on. Three hundred and fifty piles have gone into the ground and Steve explained overcoming obstacles was what made his job so satisfying.

“Working on projects like this is why I enjoy my job so much. Every day is different – drilling piles into a 150 year old dry dock is something I may never do again, it’s a unique project,” he said.

As the UK’s No 1 port for car exports, Southampton will have two new multi-deck car parks to add to the five existing ones to house some of the 900,000 cars that go through the port on an annual basis. They are currently building one of two multi-deck car parks on the site to accommodate the growing number of cars.

Students Amber Souter, 15, and Ellie Jordan, 15, said they found the visit interesting and it had opened their eyes to the varied career opportunities on offer.

“It has been really interesting to come to the port – I’m interested in marine engineering as a career,” added Amber.

Steve Mainstone, Head of Design and Technology at Applemore Technology College in Dibden Purlieu, said: “Taking students on site and opening their eyes to different opportunities is absolutely fantastic.”