A Lincolnshire college student is gaining real-world engineering experience and is on the path to a career in construction thanks to a work placement on the Grantham Southern Relief Road project.

Oscar Lacey, 17, is from just outside of Lincoln and is currently in his second year at Lincoln College. He is currently working toward a Level 3 extended diploma in construction and built environment.

Since starting his one-day-a-week work placement with Galliford Try on the Grantham Southern Relief Road project in November 2021, Oscar has been gaining invaluable on-the-job experience by working on one of the county’s biggest road projects – and is loving the journey so far.

He said: “I’m really enjoying the placement I have with Galliford Try because I’ve been getting loads of experience learning and working on different areas of construction – like piling, structural concrete and surfacing.

“Since starting my placement in Grantham, I’ve been working with the highways and structures teams and have had the chance to mark out the locations of piles and pile caps, as well as roundabout surfacing, kerbing and drainage. I’ve also gotten to shadow the engineers who carry out quality checks.

“Another good example of how the placement has helped me is that I’ve had the chance to actually use a total station, a construction tool used for surveying by measuring angles and slopes – something we learned about during my first year. This means I’ve been able to learn how to use this important instrument in real-world scenarios with guidance from experts.”

Oscar is confident that his work placement on the Grantham Southern Relief Road will help him in the future. He said: “Not only has this experience put me in the unique position of having worked on such a big project while I’m still a student, but I think it will also give me an advantage when I finish my course and am ready to start a construction and engineering apprenticeship.

“I’m definitely grateful for all the support both my parents have given me since starting my placement, all of the personal contacts I’ve made and for all of the on-site experience I’ve gained so far!”

Most local colleges encourage a minimum of 30 hours of work placement time. Since starting with Galliford Try, Oscar has completed over 500 hours.

Barry Knox, senior project manager for Galliford Try, said: “What’s impressed me most about Oscar is the dedication and determination he’s shown since starting his placement with us.

“Not only has he shown a keen thirst for knowledge, but he’s also been an incredibly quick learner. And, when other 17-year-olds might have ended their placement when the summer holidays rolled around, Oscar didn’t. Instead, he continued coming in because he was so enthusiastic about learning more.

“He’s been a true asset to the project and has shown a lot of potential. There’s no doubt that Oscar has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Cllr Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways, commented: “It’s great that projects like the Grantham Southern Relief Road can give local young people the chance to gain real-world engineering experience. Hopefully Oscar makes the most of the knowledge and practice he’s gained once he’s graduated.” 

The Grantham Southern Relief Road project is being led by Lincolnshire County Council and supported by South Kesteven District Council, Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Highways England, Department for Transport, Network Rail, Homes England and local businesses.

For the latest news on the Grantham Southern Relief Road, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/majorprojects.