Griffith University’s future engineers have taken advantage of being located next door to one of the Gold Coast’s current major road construction projects and are using it as a ‘real world’ classroom.

In the latest in a series of engagements between Griffith students and industry, engineers from GC Connect Joint Venture — a joint venture between Seymour Whyte Constructionsand Parsons Brinckerhoff — presented a guest lecture about the Smith Street Motorway and Olsen Avenue Interchange Upgrade project.

Associate Professor Rodney Stewart, from Griffith’s School of Engineering, said it was important for the University to capitalise on educational opportunities and maintain links with industry.

“With so much construction currently underway in the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, we have what is essentially a ‘live learning lab’ for civil engineering,” he said.

“Whether coming onto the campus or conducting site visits, industry representatives are not only sharing their expertise in areas such as construction techniques, design and construction management, site issues and project planning, they are enhancing students’ understanding of their degree and career prospects.

“Also, quite a few Griffith engineering graduates are coming back as presenters and our current students can readily relate to them and their example.”

Companies involved so far include Lend Lease (Gold Coast University Hospital), Abi Group (Griffith Business School), SMEC (M1 upgrade), Laing O’Rourke (Griffith Health Centre), Watpac (Gold Coast Private Hospital) and GC Connect Joint Venture.

Seymour Whyte Senior Project Engineer, Mr Darren Beckman, said he was impressed by the Griffith students’ knowledge and their keen observation of the construction currently underway in the precinct.

“The students had a strong interest in how the construction staging of the GC Connect JV project was planned and executed,” he said.

“It’s clear the students have been observing major construction activities around the precinct to see first-hand the types of opportunities that exist for them once they graduate.”

Parsons Brinckerhoff Civil Design Engineer, Mr Adrian Penny, said that as a Griffith University graduate he valued the opportunity to share his knowledge with current students.

Associate Professor Stewart said the student-industry engagement initiative complemented the strong practical component of Griffith’s 2104ENG Construction Engineering unit.