Costain consults on ditching 25 tech jobs

Around 25 jobs at Costain are at risk as it considers the future of its £3.5m technology centre in Somerset.

The company said it was “repositioning its digital activities” to focus on growth areas and would look to redeploy workers where possible as part of an investment programme that could see the creation of up to 200 new jobs.

The centre in Worle, North Somerset, was intended to employ 150 people when it opened in 2019, providing services to clients including solutions engineering, product-development manufacturing and maintenance, as well as digital-systems integration.

The centre boasted a virtual reality suite allowing users to digitally submerge themselves in concepts and test designs while providing virtual reality connection across the Costain group.

However, the company this week confirmed that a consultation was taking place on the future of the site following a review of its digital operations.

“Following an extensive market review, we are repositioning our digital activities to focus on areas that we expect to grow more quickly over the coming years,” a spokesperson said.

“While a small number of roles are at risk, we will look to redeploy people within the business where possible and, as a result of the investment in priority growth areas, Costain will see a net increase of approximately 175 jobs over the next year.”

In a statement accompanying the publication of its half-year results last month, the company said it had taken a strategic decision to exit its digital hardware business and was repositioning its digital portfolio towards the growth of services.

At the time, chief executive Alex Vaughan told Construction News that customers were buying less hardware and wanted more services. “That’s from our digital consultancy, our digital and operational twins and situation-intelligence capability – that piece has been growing,” he said.

Costain is the latest contractor to announce planned job cuts, following Bam, Lendlease, Keltbray, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine.

Costain was the largest recipient of National Highways spending in each of the past two financial years, receiving £522.4m in 2022/23.

However, in May, a job to upgrade barriers on the M62 was cancelled and, soon afterwards, the firm exited the £1.3bn Northern Trans-Pennine project to upgrade the A66.

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