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Balmforth’s Scotland visit focuses on young engineers

New ICE President David Balmforth presented certificates to six pupils from Trinity High School and Stonelaw High School in Rutherglen, Scotland, following their involvement in a project to help to address the skills shortage in Scotland.

The “Get into Engineering” project is a 10-week programme created in partnership between Robertson Group, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), ICE Scotland and urban regeneration company Clyde Gateway. It is designed to give local school children the chance to gain practical experience in engineering and learn about the variety of job opportunities for engineering graduates, while giving them a taste of university life.

Since September this year, six pupils from fifth and sixth year have been meeting weekly, alternating between site visits at Cuningar Loop and research sessions at the Hamilton and Paisley campuses of the UWS, led by two third year engineering students.

“This unique project gives school pupils insight into the university experience and provides opportunities for our civil engineering students to develop their mentoring skills,” said interim UWS assistant dean of education in the School of Engineering Hugh Fergusson. “Both groups will gain valuable workplace experience on-site with Robertson.”

The students have been given practical experience across the engineering spectrum, including sessions on programming, project management, design and construction. Most recently, this has involved lessons on deploying the specialised equipment being used on-site to construct a raised timber boardwalk, which will run along the edge of the River Clyde.

The project also aims to encourage more girls to consider engineering careers, as less than 3% of chartered civil engineers in Scotland are women. In keeping with this goal, two of the high school pupils are female, as are both university mentors.

Balmforth also visited the Commonwealth Games Athlete’s Village during his Scotland tour and key infrastructure projects such as the Dura Den Flood Damage Remediation Scheme and Glasgow’s SSE Hydro - now one of the top five music venues in the world.

He also launched the Transport Scotland Graduate Training Network.

More than 25 graduate civil engineers from the £500M M8 M73 M74 motorway improvements project will be among the first graduates in Scotland to benefit from the new graduate training initiative, launched in partnership with ICE Scotland. It will support and encourage continuous professional development, as graduates work towards achieving incorporated or chartered engineer status, while giving them first hand experience of working on a major transport infrastructure project.

“Transport Scotland clearly recognises the importance of nurturing and developing new talent - equipping young engineers to tackle the engineering challenges of today and tomorrow, and setting them on a path to a life-long, rewarding career, that will help shape and secure the future of Scotland,” said Balmforth.

“I have no doubt the training network will appeal to all engineers graduating from universities across Scotland and beyond. I wish them every success as they work towards becoming chartered engineers.”

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