The IKB Academy is dedicated to addressing the national short fall of engineers and trades people by giving students an invaluable insight into industry. This is a vision that cannot be achieved without the support of local businesses. Specialising in skills required for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers, the Academy provides real workplace experience as well as academic and vocational qualifications for 14 to 19 year olds. The style of learning is based around developing and equipping students with the key employability skills.
As part of BuroHappold Engineering’s Share Our Skills (SOS) programme, which enables our engineers to dedicate time to projects that need it most, we provided a number of work experience placements for IKB Academy in our Bath office.
One of the key challenges was finding a way to motivate and inspire five teenagers in the field of engineering. The placements lasted five months and exposed students to a completely new environment.
At the beginning the students had a limited understanding and knowledge of engineering concepts and the different disciplines required for engineering projects. Therefore, being able to relate to the students and finding ways of communicating what can be complex issues and concepts, in simple and clear terms provided our supporting mentors with a unique challenge.
By creating a hypothetical project for the students to work on we provided a clear structure with specific deliverables for the students to refer to during future interviews. The brief of the project was to develop an emergency refuge site that could be used to temporarily accommodate families who have been displaced from their homes due to a flood.
The project involved undertaking an analysis for six potential sites in the local area and developing a solution that considered design aspects for five different disciplines as well as understanding current global issues. To achieve this, the students rotated between the several disciplines: transport, structures, infrastructure, MEP and sustainability and physics.
By the end of the placement, the students produced a report, a poster and presented their design solutions. Overall, the students explored concepts they had not considered before and were able to link the constraints and requirements for different disciplines when developing their design solutions and justifying their decisions. By providing high quality placements in a varied and supportive environment, we hope that we have helped to open up a brighter future for these students.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply