The innovative University of Birmingham Library construction project which saw current students put their new skills to the test on a live project was recognised by the industry last night. The Department of Civil Engineering were announced overall winners in the Education category at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) West Midlands Awards for a second year in a row.

The ICE West Midlands Award for Education is awarded to an individual or organisation for substantial contribution to civil engineering-related training or education in the West Midlands region.

The University and partners, Carillion, a leading international integrated support services business, were awarded joint first place in the Education category for their project titled, ‘University of Birmingham Library construction project – Opening the Book on Construction and Engineering.’


The new University of Birmingham library, located on the Edgbaston Campus, is nearing completion. Throughout construction, Carillion and the University have worked collaboratively to ensure the project has brought educational, economic and social benefits, not just to the University, but to the local community and across the wider City too.

Students have been able to learn on a ‘live’ project and see engineering and construction in action as the new library takes shape at the heart of the campus. Furthermore, over 5,000 university staff, community members, pupils and staff from the region’s schools have experienced engineering in action through the activities and events presented. Using local companies as part of the supply chain, the project created jobs for people from some of the most deprived areas of the city along with training and apprenticeship opportunities to upskill the workforce of the future. The project will leave a lasting legacy for years to come.

Head of School of Engineering, Professor Mark Sterling said:

I am delighted to see the department recognised in so many categories at the ICE West Midlands Awards. Student experience is at the heart of everything we do in the School of Engineering and accolades such as this demonstrate the many ways in which we bring engineering to life at Birmingham.  The ICE Awards are particularly exciting as they come in the same week as an excellent performance in the Guardian league tables. These achievements are a real reflection of the tremendous work of our staff and students alike.

There were further plaudits for Birmingham on the night. The Young Engineer Award was presented to Sarah Blick. Sarah graduated in 2012 with a first class degree in Civil Engineering and received the award for her many efforts in engineering, charity work and outreach.

Emerging Engineer went to 2015 graduate Connah Jones. There were also commendations for other Birmingham young engineers; of the three runners up, two were Birmingham graduates.

In other categories, Associated Architects and Couch Perry Wilkes won in the Heritage category and were highly commended for their work on the Aston Webb refurbishment and awarded the Best Overall Project Award.

Carillion has partnered with the University since 2010 as part of the RESPECT initiative. A programme for Civil Engineering undergraduate students, RESPECT builds on our strong links with industry to provide a symbiotic relationship between training, education and employment.