Brooke Weston students will study the flow of traffic and safer routes to school as part of this year’s Engineering Education Scheme. Experts from MGWSP have tasked them with identifying and solving transport problems around a Corby secondary school and their solution will be the basis of a real-life highways project.
This year Maria Garvey, Niamh Bailey, Liam Schulz-O’Connell and Mitch Bellamy are being mentored by professionals from MGWSP, the company awarded the £500 million contract in 2008 for maintaining more than 4,000 kilometres of roads across Northamptonshire.
Mr Andrew Avallone, the company’s Construction, Design and Management Manager, has volunteered as a STEM ambassador for more than ten years. He and his colleague, Mr Shane Collins, a traffic signals engineer, met the students and outlined the project.
Mr Avallone said: ‘I will be introducing the students to the whole concept of problem solving and planning, identifying and understanding the task, what the problems are, what needs to be done then mapping that out with key milestones that we have to meet. I will hopefully be showing them research techniques, report writing and communication skills. I will be using my background and knowledge, particularly as project manager, to take them right through the whole process.’
He has previously worked with students at Duston and Oundle schools and some of his former students have gone on to pursue a career in engineering. Those taking part in the Engineering Education Scheme devote more than 100 hours to it, taking part in a residential, filing a detailed report and presenting their finished work to industry experts at a Celebration Day in April. Students may also be eligible for the CREST Gold Award that recognises engineering success.
For many years Brooke Weston students have worked closely with engineers from Corus Tubes dealing primarily with metal production and devising methods to cut waste so this project, focusing on pedestrian and traffic flow around a school, will bring different challenges and solutions with road safety measures, such as zebra or pelican crossings, costing tens of thousands of pounds to install.
Mr Avallone said: ‘The students will see how to measure and build up a scheme and the costs behind it. I will get them into the office where they will see the traffic control room and interact with our engineers and technicians. The project will have a real-life end, funded out of the Safer Routes to School budget. We may have to take their concepts and tweak them and put them through a proper design process, but the bulk of the work they will be doing will form the basis of the final design.’
DT teacher Nigel Barrett said: ‘This will be a really interesting project with lots of different aspects for our students to explore. We are looking forward to working with Shane and Andrew because, not only do they bring a wealth of engineering knowledge, but Andrew also has a great deal of experience working alongside students as they go through the problem-solving and design process.’