Believing firmly in STEM provision, one of the leading construction companies in the North of England, Central and Southern Scotland, Esh Group are providing STEM centres across the country to equip workers of the future with the right skills and education
Esh group say that there is a challenge in STEM provision that needs to be addressed by further education institutions across the UK. They believe these institutions need to provide well-equipped environments which can accommodate hands-on teaching methods but do so on small budgets.
The appeal of STEM centres
With the development of their Get into STEM kits, Esh Group looks to engage the workforce of the future and develop the skill sets which are necessary for those pursuing careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.
Under Esh Group’s influence, many colleges have chosen to build dedicated STEM centres to meet the demands of employers, and the Government’s Industrial Strategy, with Esh Group building STEM centres at Middlesbrough College and Northumberland College’s Ashington Campus.
The educational buildings are built with the local community in mind, and are designed to provide a safe and sustainable environment for all. To ensure the best possible result, the group consults closely with clients, pupils, teachers and the rest of the community to shape the vision of the new environment and meet the needs of future generations.
How to go about designing and constructing a STEM centre
For many education providers, it is often a requirement for an adaptable space for workshops and teaching facilities to be constructed. For Northumberland College’s STEM centre in Ashington, for example, Esh Group installed a galvanised steel trench in the workshop area.
This allows the college to adapt the room layout, move equipment and store power and data cables securely. The also fitted a moveable wall within the building, which can be opened up to create double-height workshop areas.
It’s likely that a STEM centre will be situated in a prominent spot that’s close to a busy college campus. On recent builds, Esh Group considered this point and separated the site using Heras fencing and ensured clear signage is in place.
A traffic flow system should also be established whenever there is shared road access that leads up to the site. Site vehicles should drive fully onto site, with materials being delivered on a ‘just in time’ basis and stored in a dedicated lay down area.
If a STEM centre is to feature two or more storeys, working at height must be factored in as well — the Health and Safety Executive has a raft of handy advice about this topic in this guide.
Toolbox talks should be provided to every individual on site too, not to mention thorough risk assessments and method statements created to ensure everybody is safe and secure throughout the entire development.
As part of building a STEM centre at Middlesbrough College, Esh Group produced a real-life lean manufacturing facility which included a robotic-controlled production line. The centre now replicates typical industrial environments and includes fully-functional chemical and oil processes, which are monitored and operated from a high-tech control room.
The construction company also installed specialist science and technology workshops, including dedicated ‘fab labs’ where budding product designers and entrepreneurs can access the latest in digital fabrication equipment for prototyping.