At the recent Highway Careers Day, hosted by the National Highways Yorkshire Northeast (YNE) Community, HW Martin (Traffic Management) Ltd showcased their 360-traffic management experience. The event was held at Middlesbrough College and saw more than 300 students engage with employers from across the highways industry.
Students who donned the virtual reality headset at HW Martin’s stand were thrust into a live-lane scenario with a traffic management crew. From a first-person perspective they witnessed cones being dropped from the conewell of an Impact Protection Vehicle (IPV). Looking around, they could wave to their teammate passing them cones and see vehicles travelling past on the carriageway. It was a full audio-visual sensory experience.
The company also had an IPV on display in the outdoor area, completing the picture by showing the scale of the vehicle in real-life.
Joanna Hill, Marketing and Communications Manager at HW Martin (Traffic Management) Ltd champions the company’s social value activity, she said:
“The 360 video was a big hit with the students. It’s very difficult to describe what it’s like to be a traffic management operative without being there on the highway so this is the next best thing. The next step will be to make a truly interactive experience by allowing the students to lay the cones themselves through virtual reality. There are also major opportunities for how we train and refresh training for employees in the future as well.
“It was great to watch the students interact with what was happening virtually in front of them. The excitement was palpable!”
Careers fairs like this are a key part of HW Martin’s succession planning because they promote meaningful connections with future candidates. Particularly those who are less represented in the industry including girls, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.
“So many of our employees on the front line get involved in traffic management because they know someone in the industry already, a brother or sister, a father, a cousin. Others, like me, didn’t set out to join the industry, it just happened, and we’ve stayed! We, like so many of our colleagues in the industry, want to empower people to make a career in highways a deliberate decision. We can only do this by raising awareness of the wealth of opportunities available. We are speaking to the individuals who will play a major role in shaping what our industry looks like in the future, even if they don’t know it yet. That’s exciting!”
Emma Hughes, Social Value Lead for Jacobs organised the careers fair. In a recent LinkedIn post, she said:
“Our aim was to provide an interactive platform for students to gain valuable insights into the highways sector and discover the numerous career paths available. From civil engineering to project management, environmental planning to traffic management, we left no stone unturned in showcasing the breadth of opportunities awaiting them. By organizing this event we aimed to bridge the gap between academia and industry, offering students a chance to connect with experienced professionals and gain firsthand knowledge of about the highways sector… empowering them to make informed decisions about their future.”
Joanna was joined at the event by Don Pollin, Lead Traffic Management Operative/Foreman; Richy Coote, Contracts Manager; and Luca Mee, Quality Manager. The team joined representatives from National Highways, Costain, Carnell, HRS, GVA Concrete Repairs, Winvic Construction, Kier Group, Keltbray, CHC Highways, WJ, Tilbury Doughlas, MVIS, Premier Traffic Management, Premier Road Markings, Jacobs, Tarmac, Sir Robert McAlpline, and Flannery Plant.