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Pupils learn to build bridges at Collingwood College

Pupils from seven schools participated in a model bridge building challenge with Beard

Posted by Lucinda Reid | December 23, 2016 | Events

Year 8 pupils from seven schools across Surrey and Middlesex got together at Collingwood College in Camberley for a hands-on model bridge-building challenge hosted by the College and regional construction firm Beard

The pupils, aged 12 and 13, were taking part in The Year 8 Construction Challenge, a learning initiative organised by education charity SATRO and sponsored by Beard, which helps youngsters develop science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills through fun, practical exercises working with industry professionals.

Working in teams of eight, the pupils had to build a model bridge able to span a 1.5 metre gap and hold a 1.5kg weight, using rolled-up paper, masking tape, string and nuts and bolts. The project involved each team pricing the project, ‘purchasing’ their construction materials and making sure that their scheme was being delivered in the most cost-effective way. At the end of the day, each team had to give a two-minute presentation on their bridge and test its performance in front of a panel of judges.

The challenge was won by the Camberley-based Kings International College team, who each received a mug, pen and WH Smith voucher for their hard work, donated by Beard.

“These hands-on events are invaluable in bringing STEM-related subjects to life and giving youngsters a real insight into the fantastic career opportunities they can lead to in fields such as construction, engineering and architecture,” said Guy Hannell, Beard Guildford regional director. “At a time when our sector faces a severe skills shortage, they also provide building firms like Beard with a great opportunity to promote our industry and attract a new generation of talented people into construction.”

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has reported that the industry needs to recruit 232,000 extra construction workers by 2020 to cope with rising spending on housing, leisure and infrastructure across the UK. According to Engineering UK 2016, an additional 257,000 new engineer recruits are also required by 2022 to meet skill needs.

“The Construction Challenge is part of our STEMX programme, which is an annual programme of challenges and competitions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) used to enthuse young people about STEM,” said Keisha Smith, STEMX business development manager for SATRO. “In a fun and interactive way, the Construction Challenge teaches team work and problem-solving, provides students with an introduction to engineering, design and construction and raises awareness of the varied career possibilities within the engineering and construction sector.”

The event follows a similar successful SATRO Year 8 Construction Challenge at Royal Alexandra & Albert School in Reigate last month. 

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