The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Australasia, AUT's School of Future Environments and Fletcher Construction are building interest in future engineering careers with the launch of the Bridges to Schools project in New Zealand.
Bridges to Schools will see groups of children 8 years and older given the chance to construct a 13m long and 2.5m high functional cable-stayed bridge under the guidance of ICE volunteer engineers. It has run successfully in the United Kingdom and will now roll out in New Zealand.
At the launch event on 20 May, senior students from Ellerslie School will demonstrate how to construct the bridge with the help of Sam Best, Chair of the New Zealand Institution of Civil Engineers. Sam, who is also a Senior Project Manager for Higgins, says he’s excited to see the programme launch in New Zealand. “I’ve seen how successful this project was in the UK, and know the kids who take part in Bridges to Schools love the opportunity to get hands-on engineering experience. Bridges to Schools is a great way to make civil engineering tangible for young people, and will hopefully excite more young people to pursue a career in engineering.”
The bridge has been funded by ICE, Fletcher Construction, Altus, Easysteel and PlaceMakers. It was fabricated by a team of technicians at AUT’s Built Environment and Mechanical Engineering Labs under the watchful eye of Senior Lecturer Shahab Ramhormozian. It’s made from 200 kg of aluminium, 200 kg of wood, and will be transported in 100 components, ready to be constructed at Fletcher Construction HQ.
Ramhormozian says the project is a fabulous way to excite young people about engineering. “Being able to construct a bridge together as a team not only provides valuable real-world learning opportunities, it will also show how fascinating built environment engineering is.”