Will Lavelle, a graduate Structural Engineer at Atkins and keen STEM Ambassador, looks back on a series of successful events he helped run across the company’s UK offices.
Last month, we had 16 Atkins offices around the UK welcoming in over 300 children to celebrate our third annual Bring Your Child to Work Day.
The activities varied between the offices, from building structures, creating safe transportation for eggs and even identifying different kinds of animal poo.
Kids then spent the afternoon with their parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, seeing the exciting work they do. And the event didn’t just impress the kids, it also impressed our clients.
Bring Your Child to Work Day is all about raising awareness of the exciting world of engineering and science, with first-hand experience to get a glimpse into our work.
After the day, many children said they were now interested in a career in engineering.
Developing real engineering skills through play
In Birmingham, the children were building bridges from building blocks, and railways. They also learned that they could keep marbles afloat using tin foil.
The ecology team helped the children learn to identify animals by their droppings, something that plays an important role in conservation.
Meanwhile in Cardiff, they also explored the world of building structures, using paper to build the tallest towers they could, and using Lego to create retaining walls (supports designed to hold soil).
What does an engineer look like?
There’s no one right answer, but in York, children put their drawing skills to the test to draw what came into their heads when they answered the question.
In a world that’s increasingly looking at creating skyscrapers out of timber, the children also built their own super structures out of lolly sticks and jelly babies.
In Derby, they started the day designing the "next great railway".
The children split into teams to plot the best routes for a new railway, ensuring the route passed through all the towns and avoided areas like woodlands and lakes.
There was more bridge building, and the kids’ designs were put to the test using lots of marbles to find stronger solutions. They also learned a new creative way to recycle rubbish, turning old plastic bottles into propeller boats.
All the Atkins staff involved were excited to share their days on Twitter and LinkedIn, and the kids had a great time learning what their family members do and having a go at taking their first steps into the world of STEM work.
Happy offices bring business benefits
For me I think the benefits of Bring Your Child to Work Day are wider than just encouraging the next generation to be excited about the world of work.
I could see an impact on everyone in the office. For the parents/aunties/uncles/etc., it’s brilliant that their child gets to understand why they work so hard and why they’re proud of what they do.
For the volunteers, it was a great chance to work in creative ways in a totally different environment to "normal project work", and learn how the next generation think and work.
I think for working parents, too, sometimes work and family life can often seem like opposing forces. Bringing the two together, even just for one short day, can help them to feel more relaxed in this "double life" – and a great chance to show off "what mummy or daddy does at work”!
I was pleased to see clients and visiting companies were also impressed with what they saw in the office. Hopefully we’ve inspired some of them to think about running their own event next year.