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Building bridges: schoolchildren become engineers for the day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Building bridges: schoolchildren become engineers for the day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Press Release 28/01/2019

Last week, 180 primary school children from Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest had a taste of civil engineering at the London Aquatics Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the Bridges to Schools programme.

The students used their heads (and their hands) to work out how to build a 19 metre model cable-stayed bridge, while kitted out in hard hats, high-vis vests, gloves and goggles. After the bridge was built, each child got the chance to walk across the bridge to test how good their engineering skills were.

The pupils learnt about the importance of safe working practices and collaboration as well as the engineering properties involved in building a bridge including; counter weights, towers in compression and cables in tension.

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

The programme, led by the London Legacy Development Corporation, Institution of Civil Engineers and Balfour Beatty, aims to promote the benefits of careers in civil engineering and the positive impact the profession has on society. Each session was presented by an engineer from the Institution of Civil Engineers, who took questions about what it is like to work in the field.

Paul Brickell, Executive Director of Regeneration and Community Partnerships, said: “Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the businesses, universities and cultural institutions that are locating here are all about creating opportunities for local people.  We work closely with employers to help them find the talent they need from within east London communities.  We are hoping that the young people who come to “Bridges for Schools” will be inspired to take up careers in engineering and will work on the many great projects here and beyond.”

Jonathan Baggs, ICE London Director said: “Today’s event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been a fantastic learning opportunity for the students. They have experienced first-hand what it is like to be a civil engineer and applied their new skills and knowledge in a fun and experiential way. Our aim is to inspire young people to see civil engineering as a creativity career which has a positive impact on society”.