A-Level students from schools across the region were given a glimpse behind the scenes of one of the North East’s biggest infrastructure projects in a bid to get more young people excited about engineering.
The Morpeth Northern Bypass (MNB), a Carillion Plc project in partnership with Northumberland County Council, hosted 17 students at their site as part of a three-day event organised by the Construction Youth Partnership – a charity funded by businesses and councils to help support more young people into construction and engineering careers.
The event, named Budding Brunels, was attended by Year 12 and 13 students from Kenton, Walbottle, Morpeth’s King Edward VI school and a number of other schools and sixth forms in the area, and provided students with the chance to learn about the complex processes of civil engineering, the technology behind it, and the opportunity to tour the construction site and see the action up close.
Scott Beattie, project manager at MNB, said: “The event was a great day, not just for the students but for the team here at MNB as well. It’s refreshing to see so many young faces excited about engineering – whether that be civil or mechanical, the Budding Brunels programme gave us the opportunity to inspire the next generation through our work and we were delighted to be a part of it.”
While at the MNB Northgate site, students learned about 3D and 4D planning technologies that help the team to work efficiently and safely, as well as ecology and safety, before being kitted out with hard hats, high-vis clothing, goggles and gloves to view one of the project’s most impressive structures – the 52m long Cotting Burn culvert.
Budding Brunels also included a day with infrastructure organisation AECOM, which worked with Carillion Plc on the design of the MNB project, and a day at Newcastle University with the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, for the students to explore different aspects of civil engineering, and the variety of roles and careers available.
Courtney Berry, 18, a student from Walbottle, said: “I’ve always known that I want a hands-on career, and it’s mechanical engineering that interests me most – I knew I would find this event interesting so I didn’t pass up the opportunity to take part.
“People have said to me before that it’ll be difficult for me to work in an industry that’s mainly men, but if anything that makes me want to succeed even more, so it was great to meet some of the women working on the MNB project.”
Budding Brunels is just one of the programmes run by the Construction Youth Trust designed to help young people understand more about the opportunities that exist within the industry.
Darren Young, 18, a student from Kenton, said: “Engineering has interested me for a long time, but I know that’s a big term and there’s lots of different strands to it. Civil engineering is what appeals to me most, so getting to see a real site of such a big project like MNB was great, and it’s given me the chance to learn more about what’s on offer, like apprenticeships and other career paths.”