Over 200 young people have taken part in activities designed to inspire them to take up a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) this week. As part of the activities, they built a 14 metre Cable Stayed bridge which was visiting the Tees Valley for the first time.
The bridge event was delivered in partnership between the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Redcar & Cleveland College and the Redcar and Cleveland Council Local Education Authority.
The youngsters tested their engineering knowledge and skills by working together to construct the bridge.
Harry Teasdale, STEM Development Manager at Redcar & Cleveland College, said: “The bridge construction has shown the students how significant civil engineering is, and has developed many of their skills.
“Local companies are currently employing many people to work in this field, so it is important for us to show young people how interesting it is to study a STEM course to help them with their future careers.”
As well as building the bridge, the students had the opportunity to learn more about civil engineering by surveying land and by visiting the college’s ‘Greenhouse’ renewable energy training centre they learnt about Building Services Engineering.
Jay Moore, 13, a student at Laurence Jackson School, said: “I enjoyed building the bridge, and I found attaching the cables the most challenging part.
“Today’s activities have really made me think about coming to the college and studying a STEM course, it was very interesting.”
The students used a variety of skills to build the bridge, and were able to walk across when it was finished to show what they had achieved.
Thomas Lackenby, 13, also a student at Laurence Jackson School, said: “I think it has been good because we have all had to work really hard as a team to build the bridge, and it was very important to communicate with everyone.
“I now understand how civil engineering affects our lives and I would like to come to the college to study a STEM subject.”
Staff at the college and members of the ICE guided students at the event, and other schools around the area have been taking part in this activity throughout the week.
Stephen Larkin, Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers North East said: “Activities such as the bridge building exercise are a great way to introduce to people at an early age just what civil engineering is and what it means to society. It is something they can instantly understand, and encourages thought on such things as problem solving and the challenges we face in the day to day job of simply making infrastructure work in the way it does.