Over 50 construction students recently welcomed Skanska into the Southend Campus of South Essex College for some important training that could save lives.
Several Skanska employees delivered Injury-Free Environment training (IFE) to students, helping to raise their awareness of health and safety on construction sites, an area where many of the students are seeking careers.
However, this was a training session with a difference. Instead of talking about health and safety processes and statistics, one of the Skanska team members opened the lecture with a story about his personal life, explaining how a distraction from his mobile phone when changing a tyre on his campervan at home almost resulted in a serious accident while on the road during a holiday in France.
This story immediately broke down barriers and allowed the students to share their own personal stories about the risks they take everyday, putting themselves and others in danger.
“Anthony Ogbeokiri, Curriculum Manager Engineering & Building Technology, said: “This was a long lecture but the students were completely engaged throughout and there was a high level of participation. We wish to say a big thank you to Skanska, in particular, Daniel, Derek, Chris and David for this outstanding presentation. We would love to have Skanska back again for more training.”
Derek Bennett, a director at Skanska said: “It was brilliant to get such a positive response from the students. They were really interested, wanting to know more and sharing their stories. This is exactly what the programme is about, getting people to think and hopefully change their behaviour to make a positive difference.”
Skanska believes it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that we all go home safely at the end of the day and has a target to reach zero accidents. This is a huge challenge in an industry that often involves dangerous machinery, heavy loads and working at height.
Fostering a culture of care and concern for others is the mission of its IFE programme. It aims to help everybody who works for Skanska to feel empowered and never accept unsafe behaviour. It has a no-blame culture and promotes learning from accidents and incidents, however they occur, believing this is vital to protect people in the future.
It is testament to the programme that Skanska has received safety awards for many of its projects, including: Heron Tower, London Power Tunnels, the Olympics, Paddington Station and North London Gas Alliance.
At the end of the day students were all awarded a certificate to confirm they had participated in the training.
Skanska has strong links with the college as they are the main contractor for the new £45 million Thurrock Campus that opens in September.