Working in engineering is exciting, rewarding and creative. We need the next generation of innovators and problem solvers to join the industry and help shape the future of the world we live in.
Telford & Wrekin Council hopes to play a part in sparking the interest of the town’s young people in STEM subjects by inviting pupils from across the borough to join in the Big Bridge Challenge. They will put themselves in the position of our engineers and create their own bridges. They can also enter the naming challenge for the new bridge from which the winning entry will be adopted during an official opening ceremony later in the year.
A lot of thought goes into designing the perfect bridge to ensure the structure is safe, reliable and able to withstand the test of time. The new Telford footbridge presents a perfect STEM learning opportunity and Telford & Wrekin Council have joined forces with the Year of Engineering celebrations - a national campaign - increasing awareness and understanding of what engineers do, among young people aged seven-16, their parents and teachers.
With help from our partners, we’ve arrange some unique prizes too. We are grateful to our contractors Balfour Beatty, Jacobs and partners RAF Museum Cosford and Enginuity Museum for providing experiences that support STEM learning for both primary and secondary pupils, teams and individuals. In addition, every child that enters will receive a free pass for Telford Ice Rink as a thank you so be sure to complete the entry forms correctly.
Work started in 2017 to replace the existing Telford Central footbridge that connects the train station to the town centre. This complex engineering project is funded by a Department for Transport grant and spans two dual carriageways carrying around 14 million vehicles a year, as well as a live railway line. The bridge has reached the end of its lifespan and would be too expensive to maintain, costing in excess of £1m, just to repaint.
Also, it doesn’t meet modern design in terms of disability legislation requirements. If you’ve ever tried using the ramps to get to the bridge in a wheelchair, pushing a child’s buggy or with heavy luggage, you’ll appreciate just how steep it is and the new lifts will make a huge difference. Watch our video 'Telford Footbridge - the story behind it' to learn more.
The current bridge doesn’t provide a good first impression for residents and commuters arriving at Telford by train, a journey that many people follow to the International Centre or Telford Shopping Centre. Crossing the current bridge in cold, dark and wet conditions is not a pleasant experience either and the new bridge will resolve many of these issues - view further information on the Telford Footbridge project.
The Telford Big Bridge Challenge is just one opportunity designed to excite young people about engineering. Throughout the Year of Engineering Telford & Wrekin Council is working with hundreds of partner organisations, including museums, galleries and schools who are all taking part.
If your school would benefit from a STEM Ambassador to attend and support classroom activities, email Mark Robinson, West Midlands Hub coordinator for support.
All ambassadors have an Enhanced DBS and are clear for working in schools creating access to a skilled resource with a view to improving key skills and building a deeper understanding of STEM subjects.
We hope to capture the imagination of a generation, showing that if you want to shape the world, engineering is the way to do it. If you want to know more about engineering, or see what else is happening near you, visit the Year of Engineering website or search #YoE on Twitter.