Southport engineering students get 'invaluable' insight into Pier works

24 January 2024 6min read

This week students from Southport had an invaluable behind-the-scenes look at exploratory work taking place on Southport Pier.

Dozens of first year T Level Surveying and Architecture students from Southport College were invited by Sefton Council and contractors AE Yates to look at the extensive survey work taking place on the iconic structure.

Apprenticeship opportunities

As well as extending their knowledge and understanding of huge civil engineering tasks,  the students also had the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about future apprenticeship opportunities that may arise from the Pier works.

After a detailed safety and history briefing, the college cohort were taken on a guided tour of Southport Pier during which they were shown the damaged steelwork and timber decking uncovered during the survey.

Significant steelwork holes & damage to decking

Through its contractor A E Yates, who are leading on the ongoing exploratory works, Sefton Council recently released images to the public showing significant holes and erosion in the Pier’s steelwork as well as the damage to the decking boards.

The exploratory works are taking place in stages and are progressing on schedule. At the same time, Sefton Council continues to seek a long-term funding solution for capital works and ongoing maintenance required.

Huge undertaking

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Leader of Sefton Council said:  “The refurbishment of Southport Pier is a huge undertaking and we have been open about the challenges we face.

“Yet that doesn’t mean we can’t use this as a learning opportunity.

“Being able to offer the chance for Surveying and Architecture students, looking to get into the construction sector, to visit the site and see first-hand the diverse range of career opportunities available to them and the work our partners are doing was absolutely invaluable.

“Southport Pier is their Pier. They are a generation that will play a huge role in its future and to be able to combine that local pride with the skills and knowledge gained from their studies. This visit represents a great social investment not only of their time but for Sefton in years to come.

“I’d like to thank our hard working project team who continue to explore and facilitate vital social value schemes relating to Southport Pier.”

Passion, knowledge & experience

Mick O’Hanlan from AE Yates who led the tour and was impressed with the depth of knowledge and interest shown by the students said: “It was great to share our passion, knowledge and experience with regards to the current investigatory works for this prestigious project, particularly as it’s so close to their College.

“AE Yates are always looking to give back to the local communities we work in, and offering opportunities for construction students to visit sites is just one of those ways we try to do this.

Site experience

Emma Scott-Miller of project managers Gardiner & Theobald, added: “Despite the weather, we had over 20 students attend site and get some real construction site experience in a rainy January!

“Both we and Sefton are keen to see the relationship between the construction contractors employed in Sefton and the local communities they work in flourish – engagement with local Colleges, Schools and other educational facilities are key to this.”

Brilliant field trip

Mike Harper, Curriculum Leader, Southport College said: “We would like to thank AE Yates, Gardiner & Theobald and Sefton Council for hosting a brilliant field trip today. 

“It was fascinating for our T Level Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction students to see first-hand the extensive investigative work being done on Southport Pier at the moment and get a full understanding of the diverse range of skills and job roles involved in the project. 

“We are looking forward to a return visit later in the year.”

You can use this link to find out more about the works at Southport Pier.  

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