North East - education

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

If you're thinking about a career in civil engineering, or would like to find out more about it, ICE is here to help.

We can give advice and guidance if you're wondering what subjects to study at school, college or university. We also provide resources and support for teachers, and other people looking to promote civil engineering.

ICE North East has a wide range of materials for people living in the region and working with local schools and colleges.

Looking for inspiring resources to use in school?

We have a range of multimedia resources for teachers, careers advisers, parents, and volunteer ICE ambassadors.

So if you want an activity for a class or club – something hands-on, that's tried and tested – you'll find it here. We also have PowerPoint presentations, videos, careers information and useful links to lots more.

Browse through and download the schools resources you need

ICE also works with Tomorrow's Engineers, which provides clear information on careers in engineering. The Tomorrow's Engineers careers materials:

  • Are mainly aimed 11 to 14-year-olds
  • Show what young people can achieve by studying maths and physics
  • Tell you about the huge range of careers available in engineering
  • Explain the different ways to get an engineering career

Find out more about Tomorrow's Engineers

In your region

Need help planning your lessons? Thinking about visiting a school?

We have a range of resources for teachers and those wanting to visit schools that help explain the role of civil engineering and inspire young learners.

Bridges to Schools

Watch pupils from the East Midlands take part in Bridges to Schools

Bridges to Schools is a fun activity that introduces young people to civil engineering and its contribution to society.

ICE North East uses a 13m cable stayed bridge kit which students build, walk across and deconstruct. It helps them learn about teamwork and the civil engineering that's involved in building bridges.

The overall aim of Bridges to Schools, which has been running in the North East since 2012, is to inspire and motivate younger students to take up a career in science or engineering field. Students are encouraged to improve their knowledge in physics, maths and other related subjects.

Hosting Bridges to Schools

The bridge kit is normally kept in one location for a week and schools group together to arrange for their pupils to visit and take part in the activity.

To host the bridge you need a gym or hall that's 19m long, 2.5m high and has a flat surface. Vehicle access is needed as close as possible. It's very important that this space is available or the bridge won't fit.

If you're interested in hosting Bridges to Schools at your school please contact Jade Robson in the ICE North East Regional Support Team.

Suitable for: 8 - 11
Time required:1.5 hours


Wonder Challenge

Wonder Town challenge
Wonder Town challenge

The Wonder Challenge, which has a different theme each year, allows students to set up their own mini construction companies which then design a project and build it.

This annual competition is run by a range partners from the built environment. Students work with industry mentors along the way to gain experience of working in the engineering and construction sectors.

Throughout the challenge, year 9 and 10 students develop skills in science, technology, engineering, maths and a range of other areas. They also find out about career opportunities in construction and engineering, and the contribution these industries make to everyday life.

Suitable for: Age 14-17

Paper bridges

Paper bridges exercise
Paper bridges exercise

This is a hands-on design, make and test activity. Pupils will use sheets of paper, masking tape and nuts and bolts, to create a bridge which is tested for strength.

The activity helps students to appreciate the role of civil engineers and provides a great understanding of the forces that need to be managed in order to build a safe structure.

Suitable for: Age 8

Time required: Up to 2 hours


Interested in helping?

If you think you could help inspire the next generation of engineers, then we want to hear from you!

We're always on the look out for new Ambassadors to visit schools and help enthuse children across the region.

If you're interested we want to hear from you.

Find out more and register your interest

New Tyne Crossing

What can you tell me about it?

The £255m New Tyne Crossing project included a second vehicle tunnel under the River Tyne, and a major refurbishment of the original vehicle tunnel which opened in 1967.

The new tunnel is 2.65km long, 360m of which is below the river and connects Howdon and Jarrow approximately seven miles downstream from the crossings in the middle of Newcastle/Gateshead. This is three miles in-land from the North Sea.

A new interchange was constructed at the south end of the tunnels. There was little room to work with, and it had to take into account railway and Metro bridges over the A19 and nearby housing.

Both tunnels were fully operational on 21 November 2011. The development transformed North East motoring and dramatically reduced congestion on one of the UK's busiest A-roads.

The New Tyne Crossing was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on 18 July 2012.

Cars entering the New Tyne Crossing
Cars entering the new tunnel

Why is it important?

The New Tyne Crossing improves traffic flow across the Tyne, and is arguably one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the North East for many years.

The second vehicle tunnel took a decade to plan and four years to construct, and completes the dualling of the A19 between Northumberland and North Yorkshire.

How was it built?

The second Tyne vehicle tunnel was built using the immersed tube technique. Segments of the tunnel were constructed elsewhere and floated to the tunnel site to be sunk into place and then linked together. It was only the third tunnel in the UK to be constructed this way. The others are the Conwy Tunnel in North Wales, and the Medway Tunnel in Kent.

Some parts of the new tunnel were constructed by geotechnical specialists using 'cut-and-cover' which is a method used in locations where the tunnel's profile is shallow. This allows for excavation to be carried out from the surface.

Gas mains, sewers and water mains crossed the site in several places. To avoid a costly diversion of a gas main and a sewer, an alternative to the cut-and-cover technique had to be found in two sections. The solution was to excavate under the utilities and secure the walls of the tunnel with a sprayed concrete lining.

Anything else of interest?

The new vehicle tunnel became known as the safest tunnel in the country when it opened, thanks to its state-of-the-art fire safety system.

The most difficult material for the cutter head to remove wasn't the bedrock beneath the Tyne but supermarket trolleys!

Records suggest a ferry operated from 1850, to link the banks of the Tyne at Howdon and Jarrow until the pedestrian and cyclist tunnels opened in 1951. A ferry service continued for vehicles until 1967 when the first vehicle tunnel opened.

In 2012, the ICE North East recognised the project with the 'Special Robert Stephenson Award'.

The judges said: "The project is one of great national significance and, since opening, has transformed the experience of the travelling public … As a result, opportunities for economic development and job creation have been opened up on both sides of the Tyne and transport links for existing enterprises have been improved. It is a worthy recipient of this special award."

Read more on the scheme and construction

What is civil engineering?

If you want to know more about civil engineering, then you're in the right place. Our What is civil engineering section contains a wealth of information, including:

  • Examples of inspiring civil engineering achievements
  • Interviews - find out what inspired civil engineers to choose their career
  • Profiles of some of the most famous civil engineers to have lived

Find our more about civil engineering

Near you

To help promote civil engineering achievements close to you and across the UK, we're running a campaign called This is Civil Engineering. We're highlighting projects across the North East that are helping to improve lives and improve our environment.

Find out more about This is Civil Engineering

What do you need to do to become a civil engineer?

If you're interested in a university or college course in civil engineering, it's important to make sure that the course you choose is 'accredited'. This means that it meets the Engineering Council's quality and curriculum standards.

Having accredited academic qualifications will make it easier for you to become professionally qualified as a chartered engineer (CEng), incorporated engineer (IEng), or engineering technician (EngTech). Use our course search to find accredited courses throughout the UK.

Please see the list below for accredited centres offering engineering degree courses in the region.


  • Newcastle University
  • University of Durham
  • Teeside University

Already studying?

If you're already studying a civil engineering course, then you could be eligible for our FREE student membership.

Becoming a member of ICE offers you a wealth of benefits, from access to free resources like our Ask Brunel service (get an answer to any civil engineering question!), to a free subscription to New Civil Engineer (NCE) magazine.

Join ICE today

Find out more and become a student member for FREE

Careers in civil engineering

If you're thinking about your career options, we're here to help. Our careers section contains a wealth of information on what you need to do to become a civil engineer. You can find out more about the qualifications you'll need, how your career could advance and how we can help you to become a professionally qualified civil engineer

Explore our Careers and professional development section

Looking to develop yourself further?

We provide a range of Professional Development courses to help you develop further.