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Inspiring the next generation

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Inspiring the next generation

Nelson Mandela is known to have said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

Most of our schools today teach students that they need permission to ask questions, when what we really need are generations of disruptive, independent thinkers. We wonder if we could reinvent what it is to teach, and hope to see a future where ‘inspirators’ will bring the energy of change and the excitement of possibility to our schools, empowering future generations to be inquisitive and learn independently rather than passively absorbing information from a traditional teacher figure.

At Elliott Wood, we have been working with Bryanston Square Foundation to host Year 10 students from Littlehampton Academy and Year 12 students from Portslade Aldridge Academy at our London office to learn about the role of structural and civil engineers in shaping a more sustainable future. The Bryanston Square Foundation are a team of education change-makers helping schools rethink how learning should be structured, delivered and measured and where it should take place. The charity also aims to inspire underprivileged students throughout their studies, setting up an inspiration springboard on how they can use their talents to make a positive difference to the world.

Through a series of interactive sessions, our engineers encouraged the students to discover the unseen engineering behind most of our lives. They explored what it would feel like to plan a city, balancing a mix of public and private services and transport grids, whilst also considering urban policies and future-proofing for the benefit of all residents. How will we live, work, play and what does this mean for the city of the future?

We were happy to hear that they enjoyed their visits at our office and that their overriding impression was just how much of what we take for granted has been designed, at some stage, by engineers:

“Engineering a better future – I never thought of that being the role of engineers!”

I really thought getting teens to engage would be difficult, but was genuinely taken aback at how engaged they were in the sessions. Giving them the control to influence our fictional city and encouraging them to challenge what they saw as the norm brought out some really interesting debates, and hopefully gave them the belief that they can make a difference and shape society for the better.” – Billy, Senior Engineer

In the UK alone, we need approximately 59,000 engineers every year, and that’s just to meet demand. Through our collaboration with organizations such as the Bryanston Square Foundation we hope to be among the ‘inspirators’ who help close the gap. We must all do our part to inspire the next generation to discover the amazing unseen engineering that upholds most of our daily lives, and hopefully commit to engineering a better society.