Project case study - Napier University

Working with universities is extremely important to Balfour Beatty as they represent one of several pipelines for new talent that sustain businesses and the industry. Providing information on careers and work placement prospects generates opportunities for students and graduates to join site teams in creating the vital infrastructure that underpins our daily lives.

Practical opportunities to take learning from the classroom to the site are key in helping students develop their skills and prepare themselves for a rewarding career in construction.

Napier University Careers Event: October 2019

People at Balfour Beatty's digital capability stand
Demonstrating Balfour Beatty’s digital capabilities at the Napier Careers Event

The team regularly attended the Napier University Careers events held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

In October 2019, the team took their VR headset and gave students the opportunity to experience some of the structures that make up the A9 Dualling: Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project and learn about opportunities for placements and early careers through Balfour Beatty’s graduate scheme.

Project and Risk Management – Guest Lecture

In 2019, CSR Manager, Ken Brown, was invited to deliver a guest lecture on Project Management and Managing Risk to a class of 15 Civil Engineering students.

The class was then split into three groups to come up with the top ten risks and mitigations that could be used. The winning group each received a book.

This was then followed by the MEng dissertation Conference with 16 students giving a presentation followed by a Q&A session with fellow students, lectures and members from industry including representatives from Balfour Beatty and Transport Scotland.

Napier students attending the MEng conference
Napier students attending the MEng conference


In early 2019, the site team held a hackathon with students from Edinburgh Napier University at the site offices. The students were given the challenge to devise a methodology for the construction of the Hunters Lodge underbridge extension while maintaining traffic on the minor road below. Additional challenges included managing the existing fibre optic cable and drains that were shown going through the new bases.

This was a particularly interesting challenge for the students as the problem they were working on was live on site and being worked on by the project’s design and engineering teams. The good ideas that came from the Hackathon could be implemented on site as part of the real-world solution.

The feedback from the event was extremely positive from the students and Dr Andrew MacIver, Senior Lecturer in Transportation Engineering at Napier.

Participants gathered around a table and ideas being added to a whiteboard
Some of the hackathon participants feeding back their ideas

Edinburgh Napier University 5th year MEng Mentoring Programme

Ken Brown worked closely with a small group of fifth year MEng students on their final year project as an industry mentor. 18 students worked in three groups with their industrial mentor over three months to deliver a presentation on a project they had to design and tender for.

The project involved the creation of a new arena next to Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh, with 12,000 seating capacity,

Each of the three groups were first class, with the Revit fly through delivered by the ‘Compass Arena’ team receiving a round of applause from their fellow classmates and the judges. 

Ken with his winning team of final year MEng students
Ken with his winning team of final year MEng students