A new qualification in Concrete Pavement and Construction Maintenance has been launched by National Highways and the University of Derby in a move to plug the predicted skills gap in successfully delivering repairs and renewals of concrete roads.
As a part of the Road Investment Strategy, National Highways is spending £400m in the next three years to improve the quality of existing concrete roads across the country. However, 60 percent of the current specialist concrete workforce is set to retire within 10 years, leaving a skills gap that presents a risk to the successful delivery of these projects.
To fill this gap, the National Highways Concrete Roads Centre of Excellence has worked in partnership with the University of Derby to launch a BSc Honours in Concrete Pavements and Construction Maintenance. The two-year part time course specifically focuses on pavements and highways, and provides a pathway for those already studying related subjects to specialise or convert.
Mike Ambrose, Technical Lead at National Highways’ Concrete Roads Centre of Excellence, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the University of Derby to design and deliver this course. The University of Derby and specifically the Centre for Mineral Products has a strong track record of delivering applied programmes for industry so are a natural partner for National Highways.
“As the current specialist concrete workforce begin to see out their careers we’re excited to begin upskilling and working with the next generation of engineers. This employer led programme, which is open to both National Highways and the supply chain staff, will help those people get on the pathway to becoming the future industry leaders.”
Mark Osbaldeston, the Head of the Centre for Mineral Products at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with National Highways to offer this innovative new course. The concrete roads programme is fundamental in ensuring the future success of our road networks, and this BSc Honours provision will help provide a continued supply of highly skilled individuals to the profession. Our team of academics have extensive experience within the mineral products sector and are very much looking forward to sharing their knowledge and practical expertise with the next generation of industry leaders.”
The course, which begins in January 2022, is the first industry led course of its kind specialising in pavements and highways design and will be open for enrolment from this December. It’s aimed at a range of learners including those with foundation degrees, Level 5 apprenticeships and pavement engineering consultants and suppliers who want to extend their knowledge and understanding of the subject areas so they can potentially specialise and pursue careers allied to National Highways or other road and pavement infrastructure companies.