New website introduces engineering to secondary schools

To raise awareness of engineering as a career choice among 14 to 16-year-olds, engineering consultancy Buro Happold has launched a new website (URL below). It was launched last month (September) at Explore @Bristol and provides an interactive, fun and interesting online resource for pupils who will soon be making subject choices that will influence their career options. As part of the launch event, pupils from secondary schools in Bristol and Bath were invited to @Bristol, where they completed a series of engineering-based challenges — from building a skyscraper using straws to providing emergency water supplies to a war-torn city. The winning and second-place teams were from Cotham School in Bristol. A team from St Gregory’s Roman Catholic School in Bath took third place. Padraic Kelly, managing partner with Buro Happold, says, ‘Buro Happold, like every other engineering consultancy in the country, is concerned about the falling number of young people who are entering the profession. Our business — and the UK as a whole — depends on highly skilled, creative and enthusiastic people who push the boundaries of innovation, design and technology. We wanted to do something to show teenagers, many of whom have preconceptions that engineering is boring, that it can offer a creative, fun and rewarding career.’ The practice has received support from UK manufacturers and institutions in developing content for the website. The site enables teachers to download project packs, based around the National Curriculum, which they can use to demonstrate aspects of engineering. The site explains the different routes a young person can take to become an engineer and includes a section on famous engineers, ranging from Archimedes to James Dyson of vacuum-cleaner fame. Padraic Kelly says, ‘Buro Happold has close links with many universities and colleges, and we also have a very strong graduate-development programme. However, we recognise that to get more young people into engineering, we need to start with those who are still at school, and that is what this website is all about.’
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