Local students received an invaluable behind-the-scenes tour of the exploratory work underway on Southport Pier this week.
Sefton Council and contractors AE Yates invited dozens of Southport College first-year T-Level Surveying and Architecture students to view the extensive survey work underway on the iconic structure.
The students not only gained a deeper understanding of massive civil engineering tasks, but also had the chance to ask questions and learn more about potential future apprenticeship opportunities related to the Pier works.
The college cohort was given a thorough safety and historical briefing before being given a guided tour of Southport Pier, where they saw the damaged steelwork and timber decking that had been discovered during the survey.
Images of the damage to the decking boards and large holes and erosion in the Pier’s steelwork were recently made public by Sefton Council through its contractor, A. E. Yates, who is in charge of the ongoing exploratory works.
The exploratory work is proceeding according to plan and is happening in phases. Sefton Council is still looking for a long-term funding source for the necessary capital projects and ongoing upkeep.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Leader of Sefton Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, 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 Civil Engineering and Architecture students, including women looking to get into construction sector, to visit the site and see first-hand 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.”
The tour guide, Mick O’Hanlan of AE Yates, was astounded by the students’ breadth of knowledge and level of interest.
“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.
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.”
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.”