Why Alison gets a buzz from volunteering

Alison Horton, one of ICE West Midlands’ STEM Ambassadors, tells us why she volunteers

Alison Horton
Alison Horton

During her work placement from university, a colleague invited her to take part in the paper project. She willingly agreed, knowing nothing more than she would be helping children build bridges out of rolled up newspaper. A few weeks later, and she was helping A-Level students build arches from newspaper, big enough to walk under.

"When I returned to Loughborough University I felt the need to continue sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for civil engineering so I volunteered at the Women in Engineering lunches that were held on university open days. It was perfect, I was getting the chance to talk to potential female engineering students, on a subject I am passionate about, and eat cake at the same time."

Once she returned to the work place she heard the term STEM Ambassador, and signed up. She has since attended many activities, careers days and Big Bang fairs across the West Midlands, sharing her love for structures and buildings wherever she can.

"The majority of school children I come across have no idea what I do, in fact a lot of careers advisors, parents and teachers learn as much from me as the children. I think it's important that children know what careers are available to them. I like to emphasise to them that the buildings they use every day, whether it be their home, school or local supermarket couldn't exist without structural engineers."

Alison admits she gets a buzz from volunteering and that's why she finds the time to help out.

"I'm very lucky that my employer, Curtins, appreciates what I do and lets me take time out to be a volunteer. They realise that what I do benefits them and the industry in general. I recently gave career talks during assembly to pupils at one of the schools we are currently working on. For them it was great to be able to physically connect the building project outside their window with the drawings and calculations I showed on the screen".

ICE West Midlands needs volunteers to help us in our mission to inspire young people to choose a career in civil engineering.

To find out more about volunteering contact ice.westmidlands@ice.org.uk.