A DARLINGTON school has led the way in a new project encouraging young people to consider a career in engineering.

Around 240 students at Polam Hall School, in Darlington, have spent classes building their own cable-stayed bridge, thanks to the Institute of Civil Engineers.

The school is the first in Darlington to use the kit, which is supplied by the Institute and consists of pieces to build a 15-metre replica of a cable bridge, similar to the famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
Students worked together to construct the bridge, learning about the engineering concepts which make such structures possible.

Different groups from Years 7, 8, and 9, built and dismantled the bridge throughout the week – a process which took around two hours.

Polam Hall’s Head of STEM, Aimee Jones, said: “Demand for engineers in this country is projected to massively outstrip supply over the coming years, which is just one reason why it’s so important that we encourage students to take an interest in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“The deficit is expected to be especially severe in the North-East. We’re trying to do our bit to bridge that gap.

“Building this bridge together not only introduced students to the real-world applications of scientific principles, but it also helped them develop teamwork and communication skills, and it got them thinking about where a career in these fields could take them.”

Alfie Leach, in Year 8, said: “Building the bridge has been a lot of fun. I want to be an engineer when I leave school, so today has been great.”

Amber Patty, also in Year 8, said: “It’s been very interesting to see that science isn’t all about chemicals and working in a lab.”