Nearly 100 teams complete ICE David Butler Award pilot

The competition, designed to inspire young people to follow a civil engineering career path, was launched this year.

Students from around the UK made creative videos in the competition exploring how civil engineers could improve their local area.
Students from around the UK made creative videos in the competition exploring how civil engineers could improve their local area.

Nearly 100 teams have taken part in the pilot of the ICE David Butler Award for school and college students aged 16-18.

The competition required the teens to play a civil engineering-based digital game and submit a video project that reflected how much they had learnt.

Judges will now pick the top three teams, with the winners to be announced and winning films revealed in the New Year.

Inspiring future civil engineers through gamification

“We really like the gamification of this learning – it’s so detailed! It has surprised a few of our students who didn’t have a huge interest in it at first but have been pleasantly surprised,” said one school that took part.

Sean Harris, ICE’s Director of Membership, thanked ICE members who supported the competition: “The success of the ICE David Butler Award in this first year has in large part been due to the superb support and guidance provided by the many ICE STEM Ambassadors who have given their time to help the teams. This valuable contribution will have helped us inspire future civil engineers and ICE members.”

Another school said: “They have enjoyed this project so much and are all looking to civil engineering as a career or university choice after speaking to the ambassadors.”

Students and schools interested in taking part in the next round of the ICE David Butler Award can register their details to receive a notification when it opens.

The ICE David Butler competition aims to encourage more young people to apply for civil engineering at university or apprenticeship level. ICE Fellow David Butler actively supported the institution’s educational programmes over many years, with a particular interest in supporting opportunities for young engineers.

The competition provides an opportunity for students to experience working in civil engineering by playing a challenging online city-creating game, CityZen. CityZen has been created by digital developer Make Real with input from ICE member volunteers, and schools.

STEM ambassadors

Each school team was matched with an ICE STEM ambassador mentor, who guided and advised their team on the civil engineering challenges presented by CityZen.

How the competition works

Most schools ran the competition as a STEM Club activity. The STEM ambassador supported their team for around one hour a week during the competition.

During the weekly session, the STEM ambassador discussed key themes from each weekly task with their team using their own civil engineering knowledge and the resources provided by ICE.

The team then played the game without active input from their mentor for part of the session. The mentor helped the team think about the issues involved in each challenge without giving them 'answers'.

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