Practically every day, the media reports on the mammoth task ahead of the Construction industry to secure skills now, and in years to come, so it was inspiring to hear from a winning team that is changing the way young people are educated and employed.

COYO’s Founder and CEO, Alison Watson; Laing O’Rourke’s Director of Sustainability, Caroline Blackman; St Ambrose Barlow Head Teacher Ben Davis and DEC teacher Dan McDonagh presented a collaborative vision for the future, based on an impressive track record.

But the highlight of the day came from 16 year old student Daniel Bateson.

Daniel has recently achieved a grade A in his Design Engineer Construct qualification at St Ambrose. He has maintained a keen interest in Laing O’Rourke, taking up a two week work experience placement during the last Summer holidays and firmly setting his sights on a Cadet placement in the future.

Behind the scenes, Carole Blackman and her colleagues John O’Connor, Group Director for Human Capital and James Eaton, Global Head of Digital Engineering were developing plans of their own, to launch a programme for talented young students like Daniel.

The Laing O’Rourke “Pathways Scholarship” allows 16 year olds to progress academically while undertaking a paid work experience programme with the Digital Engineering team in Manchester for the duration of a sixth form study period. Daniel is the first student to be offered the scholarship commencing in January 2016. His parents, his school teachers and ourselves at Class Of Your Own are all incredibly proud of him. Well done Daniel!


Three and a half years ago, Class Of Your Own approached Laing O’Rourke to ‘Adopt A School’ and focus their efforts on a group of 23 students studying the Design Engineer Construct! (DEC) learning programme. That school was St Ambrose Barlow RC High School in Salford, at the time undergoing a multi million pound transformation with Laing O’Rourke as main contractor.

Laing O’Rourke took the bull by the horns and shaped what would become their dedicated education programme, funding training for teachers and supporting students through workshops and mentoring. They have since adopted a further three schools and are seeing huge successes in all of them.

St Ambrose Barlow RC High School now has 392 boys and 346 girls going through the DEC programme from 11 years old, and is producing motivated, highly skilled students with big ambitions for a career in the built environment.

Share this story to inspire others

Recent Posts