GIRLS from two Sunderland schools have been given first hand experience of what a career in engineering can offer, after visiting the site of the New Wear Crossing as part of a Women In Engineering Day.
The event, organised as part of this year’s Work Discovery Week programme, saw Year 9 female students from the city’s Monkwearmouth Academy and the Venerable Bede Academy participate in two sessions where they were involved in a range of activities.
This included the chance for the girls to take part in bridge building exercises along with carrying out engineering tasks on site, including measuring heights and positions using a GPS receiver and a dumpy level.
And the event proved a huge hit with the young women, who said it gave them an insight into a new career option.
Amy Keeley, 13, from Monkwearmouth Academy in Sunderland, said: “We were offered the chance to come to the bridge construction site and I jumped at it.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s surprised me. I don’t know what I want to do when I’m older, but I will certainly think about engineering now.”
Her words were echoed by Kay Lindsay, 14, also from Monkwearmouth Academy, who said: “I wasn’t sure what I would find when I got to the New Wear Crossing site, but it’s been a great day. The bridge building project we took part in was definitely the best bit.
“I think it would be really interesting to be an engineer and work on a building site.”
The visit formed part of the wider Work Discovery Sunderland programme, which sees young people from the city involved in a whole range of activities throughout the year, culminating in Work Discovery Week which runs from 11 – 15 July.
Precision Geomatics, based in Sunderland, provided the surveying equipment and also helped out with the running of the day with staff from Farrans Construction.
Amy Wright, a Senior Site Engineer for Farrans Construction, said: “I’m passionate about the job I do, and feel very fortunate to be involved in the construction of Sunderland’s amazing new bridge, so it’s been great to have the girls on site and involved in some of the things we do.
“Engineering is a fabulous career, with so many opportunities for both young men and women, so I really hope we have given them something to think about.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Paul Watson, was on site to witness the pupils hard at work.
He said: “It was a real pleasure to watch these young women get involved in engineering tasks, and see their enthusiasm and interest for the work going on around them.
“We are always looking for talented and bright engineers who can play an integral role in shaping and building our communities of the future, so hopefully this has whet their appetite and they realise that they, too, can develop careers in this field.”