Apprentices visit £27m river site

APPRENTICES got to see how theory is put into practice during a visit to a £27 million project in Salisbury.
Civil engineering apprentices from Wiltshire Council took in works at Salisbury River Park.

The park is a transformative project that will reduce flood risk to more than 350 homes and businesses in the town, as well as providing major ecological, amenity, walking and cycling benefits, as well as significantly improve biodiversity, according to the council.

The £27 million project is a collaboration with the Environment Agency, Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Seven apprentices, all studying civil engineering, were able to observe the ongoing construction work at Central Car Park and Fisherton Recreation Ground.

The group was made up of civil engineering apprentices from Wiltshire Council

The group was made up of civil engineering apprentices from Wiltshire Council

In addition to the major earthworks that are required, they also saw temporary cofferdams installed in the channel, which are watertight structures to enable permanent structures to be built within them in a dry area and works to widen the river channel through the Central Car Park area.
Representatives from the council’s project team and the Environment Agency were on hand to answer any questions the apprentices had.
Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, cabinet member for transport, waste, Street Scene and flooding, said: “One of the key aims in our Business Plan is to increase opportunities for young people to develop their skills and to address the skills gaps that exist in some of our industries.
“This is a great example of working together with a partner organisation to enrich the learning experience of our young people.
“Visiting ‘live’ projects in the county not only provides a greater understanding of the aims of such schemes and why they are important to support local communities and towns but also shows the breadth of projects they could become involved in encouraging them to stay with the council or at least in the county once they become qualified.”

One of the apprentices on site, Rhiann Surgenor, said: “As an apprentice, visits such as this are useful not only for our development as technicians and engineers but also to witness first-hand a project in which multi agencies are collaborating for the benefit of the local community, tourism and its wildlife.
“It gave us the opportunity to ask questions on how they are addressing flooding matters and discuss how all parties have minimised the impacts of the project.
“Site visits are important as it gives apprentices a chance to get to grips with how these are being implemented on the ground and to also witness how projects develop.
“As a local resident myself I have a keen interest in how the design will transform the area into an appealing space for all and I am grateful to know that further visits are planned so that we have the opportunity to follow this project through all phases.”
Paddy Bradley, CEO of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “The priorities of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) include supporting regeneration projects which improve the lives of residents and developing a talent pipeline of skilled individuals who will help our local businesses to thrive and grow.
“The visit of the apprentices to the Salisbury River Park is a good example of these priorities being delivered. The SWLEP is a major supporter of the River Park development and is delighted to see apprentices from across the area deepening their understanding of how such a significant project is implemented.”
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