Learning to build bridges

Pupils at Nottingham Girls’ High School have been exploring engineering with the help of the Institution of Civil Engineers

The Bridge to Schools project encourages students to explore the prospect of a future career in engineering by involving groups in the construction of their own bridge from initial plans to first construction.

Fewer than 1 in 10 UK engineering professionals are female. In a challenge to the stereotype, Nottingham Girls’ High School students worked to build and travel across a 12 metre model bridge – learning about teamwork, leadership, safety and civil engineering.

A group of 94 students from years 7 to 13 were introduced to a team of engineers, who gave them an outline of a career path in engineering, showed them plans of the bridge and helped them work out how to construct it. The Bridge to Schools initiative is designed to make children more aware of the work and value of civil engineers and show how to pursue a career in the sector.

Sue Gorham, head at Nottingham Girls’ High School, said: “We are fully committed to providing our girls with an environment in which they can excel in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. Engineering is a part of everyday life and taking part in a project like Bridge to Schools goes a long way towards helping children of all ages understand the important role it plays while having real fun in the process. It was amazing to see just how absorbed the girls became in the construction and application. It was totally fascinating to watch them. Hopefully it will also inspire them to become part of the next generation of engineers who help shape our society.” 

Nottingham Girls’ High School works to motivate and foster the talent of young women, with the aim of seeing them go on to study STEM subjects and achieve successful careers. The school supports the government campaign Your Life which encourages young people – particularly women – into STEM subjects.

Jamie Mackay, Bridge to Schools co-ordinator at ICE East Midlands, said: “The students at Nottingham Girls’ High School were fully engaged in the task and thoroughly enjoyed the day. It’s always great to see young students with such passion and enthusiasm and hopefully we’ll see some of them go on to pursue a successful career in the engineering field.” 


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