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UTC Reading students build bridge with professional engineers

On Monday 29 February, 27 Year 10 pupils at UTC Reading took part in a bridge-building challenge led by a group of professional engineers.

Peter Brett Associates (PBA) sent three engineers to the UTC to give pupils the chance to experience life as a civil engineer, as part of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Bridges to Schools programme.

Following an introductory health and safety talk, students put on their high visibility jackets and hard hats before being divided into two teams. They were given just 45 minutes to complete the challenge of building and testing a 12m cable-stayed bridge, under the supervision of PBA’s civil engineers.

The students’ teamwork skills were put to the test as the groups had to seamlessly join the decking from the two ends together to complete their construction. They were then finally able to test the bridge, with each student walking across it.

Steve Dellow, Director at PBA, said: “PBA has led a series of workshops and bridge building demonstrations over the last four weeks and introduced over 1,200 school children to the world of Civil Engineering and STEM events – we aim to increase this number to over 1,500 by the end of this week.


“The volunteers at PBA have put a huge amount of time into the project and every hour has been well spent and hugely rewarding – the kids are amazing and we are always pleasantly surprised at how much enthusiasm they all have! I am sure we have just inspired a whole future generation of great engineers within the next 20 years, and all from Reading.”

Joanne Harper, Principal of UTC Reading, said: “This was a highly valuable activity for our students to take part in. Not only did it encourage them to work well together as a team, but it also gave them a real-world example of how they will be able to apply their engineering knowledge.

“We are extremely grateful to ICE and PBA for providing this opportunity, helping us to ensure our students have an understanding of the skills needed to enter careers in all engineering disciplines.”

Year 10 UTC Reading student Rachel Hanson said: “I really enjoyed it and it gave me more knowledge about what’s involved in civil engineering, as well as being a good team building activity.”

Year 10 UTC Reading student Marcus Doctrove said: “It taught us how to work together to build something stable. It’s been good fun and a useful way of learning more about engineering.”

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett