Encouraging students to think about construction

Friday, July 19, 2019

Students at Penwortham Girls' High School have been building bridges as part of a workshop to get them thinking about careers in construction.

The 'Bridge the Gap' activity involves young people designing, costing and building Lego bridges to span the River Ribble.

It is designed to highlight different roles within engineering and construction, using the real examples such as the construction of the Penwortham Bypass, which is part of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

The workshops, commissioned by the City Deal Skills and Employment Group, aim to raise awareness of the growing demand for construction and engineering skills that City Deal's work is contributing to, both now and in the future.

John Ramsdale, senior assistant headteacher at Penwortham Girls’ High School, said: "Our students have really enjoyed the hands-on nature of the Bridge the Gap workshops. They were also intrigued to learn about the growing number of job opportunities in the local area and many of them are now seriously thinking about careers in construction and engineering.

"Our girls threw themselves enthusiastically into the task of building a bridge and they set a new record, using the least amount of Lego to build it."

At the school they were joined by County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning; and County Councillor Jayne Rear, lead member for young people.

County Councillor Michael Green said: "These activities give young people an insight into the construction industry and the range of jobs that people can do, as well as options when they leave school such as apprenticeships, and Further or Higher Education courses.

"Construction and engineering are varied sectors, offering many different career options and opportunities.

"These activities are also a way to address gender stereotypes around construction and encourage young women to consider a career in the industry, to provide the skilled workforce we'll need in the coming years."

They were joined at the workshops by Jennifer Clough, Investment & Skills Manager and Bernadette Markham, Business Skills Consultant at South Ribble Borough Council.

The borough council is supporting Penwortham Girls High School to increase the number of encounters their students have with employers, which bring the world of work to life for young people.

Businesses can take part in a scheme called 'Give an Hour' where business professionals agree to spend an hour with young people to give them insights into the world of work and different career opportunities.

Councillor Bill Evans South Ribble Borough Council Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and City Deal said: “We were delighted to be involved in the Enterprise Advisor network visit to Penwortham Girls High School, as part of our Apprentice Factory project.

"South Ribble Borough Council has a firm commitment to the work of the Enterprise Advisor network. These events give young people the opportunity to interact with businesses and help South Ribble to develop a skilled workforce for the future.”

If you would like to inspire young people and give them an insight into the world of work, sign up to 'Give an hour'.

The Penwortham Bypass, which is being built by the county council, is due to open early next year. It is one of the major road schemes as part of the City Deal. The other road schemes are James Towers Way in Broughton, as well as the planned widening of the A582 and the proposed Preston Western Distributor.

The aim of City Deal is to reduce congestion, help people to get around, build new homes and open up new opportunities for business, which creates new jobs and economic growth.
Investment of £434 million is helping expand transport infrastructure, create 20,000 new jobs and generate more than 17,000 new homes over the next ten years.

City Deal is an agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and Homes England.

Follow @LancsCityDeal on twitter for updates on City Deal schemes and ongoing work.

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