Aspiring engineers ‘Go Forth!’ with help from Morrison Construction

scdi_7Morrison Construction has teamed up with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) to develop an engineering project for pupils inspired by the Queensferry Crossing.

The Go Forth! challenge, created by SCDI’s Young Engineers and Science Clubs (YESC) Scotland, will see over 300 schools from Shetland to Dumfries receive free kits containing all they need to design and build a suspension or cable-stayed bridge.

Jane Martin, director of YESC, said: “We’re proud to launch this challenging new project with Morrison Construction. We couldn’t miss this opportunity to raise the profile of civil engineering with school pupils across Scotland by commemorating such a huge achievement in Scottish construction. We hope that through taking part in Go Forth! and our other projects, the next generation will be inspired to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in engineering and science.”

Morrison Construction, SCDI members and long-term champions of YESC, are involved not only in the design and construction of the new Queensferry Crossing but also in many of Scotland’s new primary and secondary schools; and a wide range of education, training and community benefit initiatives.

Pupils from Trinity Academy visited the Queensferry Crossing Contact and Education Centre before an informative tour of Scotland’s largest infrastructure project. The opportunity gave them a chance to put what they’d learned in school into context and be inspired about the career opportunities within the STEM sector.

The team said: “So far our project has been very enjoyable designing and building our prototype bridge. We have been developing many skills such as teamwork and resource management which we have learned will be very useful for our careers. Seeing the bridge up close today helped us appreciate the scale and we’ve learned so much that we now have lots of ideas to help with our model bridge.”

Alice Harley, skills manager of Morrison Construction, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with SCDI Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland on the Go Forth! challenge. We fully support the ‘Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce’ agenda to improve skills, knowledge and prospects of young people. The new Queensferry Crossing across the Firth of Forth presents a fabulous opportunity to showcase civil engineering at its very best and introduce the world of work to pupils, inspiring our future workforce.

“Morrison Construction has strong links schools and communities across Scotland, including Trinity Academy in Edinburgh and have been working closely with schools to develop and execute a range of innovative projects which support the Curriculum for Excellence, contributing to pupil learning and assessed course work. Trinity Academy welcomed the opportunity to be involved in another STEM project and the school now has a number of teams participating in the Go Forth! challenge.”

David Climie, FRC project director for Transport Scotland, added: “The Queensferry Crossing project has made an outstanding commitment to capturing imaginations of young people and fostering an educational legacy for engineering. A measure of this was provided last October when we celebrated the 10,000th pupil to visit the project’s own Schools Programme which began in September 2013.

“We have never lost sight of how inspiring construction of the Queensferry Crossing would be, especially situated alongside the other two iconic Forth Bridges. The popularity of our Contact and Education Centre has been a real vindication of the importance we have placed in community engagement from day one.

“I would like to wish all those taking part in the Go Forth! challenge the very best of luck. I hope it can help provide a spark of interest and raise awareness of the wide range of careers available in engineering and science.”

Each school entering the Go Forth! challenge will have to design their bridge with only a few materials. The kits contain 1000 pre-drilled lollipop sticks, 500 cable ties and side cutters, string and cardboard. The final bridge designs will be made without the help of adhesives such as sticky tape, glue. Strong structural aids such as wire, wood and metal are also excluded.

The pupils’ engineering know-how will be put to the test in a number of regional heats in March in Dundee, Ayrshire, Inverness and Aberdeen, before the hotly-anticipated final competition at YESC’s National Celebration at Glasgow Science Centre on 10 June.

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