Berwick pupils inspired to win top engineering prize

Children from Berwick Middle School have scooped the top prize in a competition designed to inspire the next generation of engineers.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 22 May, 2019, 14:50
Berwick Middle School's winning team.

ICE Inspire was organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East to help encourage a new generation of civil engineers by reminding them of the contribution made by engineers of the past and demonstrating what an exciting vocation it can be.

In the first round of the competition, students had to make films about their civil engineering heroes. The finalists were then tasked with designing, building and testing a waterproof shelter with limited materials and a set budget.

The constructed tent.

They were judged, not just on their effectiveness but on the construction’s sustainability.

Penny Marshall, regional director for ICE North East, said: “UK engineering is on the verge of crisis – we don’t have enough engineers. In order to meet business’ demands, we need to double the number of people pursuing the career.”

Schools from across the North East took part, but Berwick Middle School came out on top at the final, after making the shortlist with its video about Robert Stephenson, focussing on bridges in Berwick, and building the most waterproof and sustainable shelter, winning £500 for the school and £50 in vouchers for each of the victorious classmates.

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Penny continued: “Many congratulations to the class from Berwick Middle School, who put together a fantastic video detailing the works of Robert Stephenson. Thanks too, to our sponsors and the many volunteers who made this event a success.”

Kelly Gibson, science teacher at Berwick Middle School, said: “ICE Inspire was a brilliant project. Opening our student’s eyes to new possibilities and aspirations is something we, as a school, strive to do every day.

“Of course, we’re thrilled to have scooped the top prize, but we’re equally pleased just to have taken part and encouraged our students to think differently about the built environment.”

The ICE Inspire competition, which is sponsored by BAM Nuttall, Balfour Beatty and Farrans, aims to combat the skills shortage in the UK engineering industry by inspiring a new generation into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Now in its fourth year, it tests pupils aged 11-13 on their creativity and research skills, while giving them insight into what a career in STEM could look like for them.

Berwick Middle School’s winning team with their waterproof shelter.