Aspire to a Career in Engineering

This week saw 70 pupils from Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy in Slough, took part in an engineering challenge set by SEGRO and Osborne as part of the drive to raise the awareness and interest of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) amongst school students.

11 teams of year 7 pupils spent a day with industry professionals from SEGRO and Osborne, learning and seeing how STEM plays a part in everyday life as well as hearing first-hand accounts of what it is like to work in the engineering industry.  They were joined by TV presenter and populariser of maths, Johnny Ball who is also a patron of the newly formed Academy.

The students visited the Slough Trading Estate to see the size and scale of the 518 tonne bridge, currently under construction, before going to Slough Aspire Centre. Here, they learnt how structures, like roads and bridges, are designed and constructed before being set the challenge to design and create their own. Their task was to construct a structure that would bear the greatest weight and also the most aesthetically designed.

Gillian Coffey, Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy Executive Head teacher, said:

“This is a great opportunity for our students to develop practical science and engineering skills while learning more about careers in civil engineering.

As a school we specialise in science, technology, engineers and maths – as well as educating pupils for the working world – so this event is a perfect fit for us.”

Johnny Ball, said:

“Projects that bring theory to life are the best methods for children to understand the role STEM plays in our world. Today’s visit and competition at Slough Aspire has given the students a fun and insightful experience – one which I hope will spur their interest in a future in STEM subjects.”

Fiona Jones, Slough Aspire Manager, said:

“During 2015, we want to increase the participation of young people in STEM-related sectors so we were delighted to help our local school children learn about the exciting world of engineering and construction.

“At Slough Aspire we always seek ways to build relationships between our local community and local business and help improve the employability of Slough people and the future of the area.”

The experts from Osborne  judged the entries and the winning teams received book tokens.

The new 52m long, steel bridge, which is part of the ongoing infrastructure improvement work in the area, will span the Great Western Railway and will enable traffic to flow freely on and off the Trading Estate. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the original Leigh Road Bridge which has Listed heritage status and was designed by renowned civil and mechanical engineer, Brunel.

The new structure has taken over 18 months to design and was constructed on a piece by piece basis, with steel being transported to the site from across the country.

Paul Lewis, Regional Director for SEGRO in the Thames Valley, said:

“The project with Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy created a unique and practical learning day and is part of our ongoing commitment, through Slough Aspire, to help young people gain vital skills and prepare them for the world of work. It was great for them to see engineering in action in the building of the bridge which is part of our ongoing regeneration of the Trading Estate.”

Jon Millar, Project Manager for Osborne, said: “Designing and installing a new road bridge over one of the busiest railway lines in the country, The Great Western, is a major feat of civil engineering.  Engineering is a very vibrant industry with plenty of opportunities for a fulfilling career and this is an ideal opportunity to introduce bridge engineering to young people.  We hope that this event will leave the children with a real interest in pursuing a future in the sector – I hope we’ve helped inspire a future generation for the industry.”