Graeme Barella, Waterman Aspen’s North East Area Manager, introduced students at Boldon School in South Tyneside (North England) to the exciting careers on offer within civil engineering, setting the scene for their challenge.
Their brief was based on Newcastle City Council commissioning the students of Boldon to carry out the design for the new River Tyne crossing, presenting an opportunity to showcase their creative side during the course of the project.
Graeme helped the students getting started with their initial ideas and provided some basic engineering guidance, before leaving them to develop their solutions over the coming weeks. On 23 May, he returned as part of a Dragons Den-style judging panel to assess the final designs pitches..
Each of the three groups had five minutes to outline their design’s unique selling points, presenting models and sketches in an attempt to win over the five judges. The first group proposed a glass walkway over a road bridge to act as a tourist attraction, with the second group showcasing a hand-made cardboard model of a cable-stayed road bridge, complete with a built-in lifting mechanism that allowed ships to pass underneath. Finally, the third group took their creativity to another level and presented a tropical aquarium-tunnel for pedestrians.
After carefully considering each design, the judges crowned the second group, with their cable-stayed bridge, the overall winner due to their outstanding engineering judgement, commending their commitment and professionalism to the project as a whole.
Graeme praised those taking part; “It was great to see the creativity on show from some of the students. It was a really positive experience overall, providing an interesting challenge that will hopefully encourage them to take up a career in engineering. We could definitely use some of those innovative minds in the industry. I am grateful to Boldon School, Zenith Training and South Tyneside Council for asking us to take part in their business enterprise project and I look forward to taking part again in the future.”