By Helen Abernethy

Engineering is such a broad term that many people do not have a full understanding of. This is where Cundall come in. We’re committed to helping build a pipeline of engineering talent, the best way to do this is to reach out to the younger generation and educate them on what it means to be an engineer. Cundall takes part in various outreach activities and local initiatives in communities and schools across the UK. We hope to inspire the younger generation and get them excited about the prospect of becoming an engineer in the built environment.

We like to involve ourselves with schemes that help to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and nurture future talent who are interested in Engineering. For instance, for the past couple of years we have sponsored two students through the Arkwright Scholarship which focus on supporting students through their A levels in the hope to encourage them to pursue Engineering at university or through a higher-level apprenticeship.

We are also cofounders of PlanBEE (read Rebekah Phillips’ blog about the scheme here). As part of the PlanBEE programme, we have a rotation of students that come in and spend 4 months at a time with us before going onto another engineering company. At the end of the programme, the students leave with a recognised qualification (either HNC, HND or BEng Degree) and with a passion to get stuck into the construction/engineering sector.

Programmes such as the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) allow us to work closely with local schools to provide students with projects that focus on real life engineering problems and allows them to gain a real insight into what a day in the life may be like for an engineer who works in the built environment.

There is a real skill shortage in the construction industry, and we believe we can play a part in turning this around. The staff here at Cundall really enjoy going to the local schools and attending career fairs with the aim of inspiring the next generation. We like to invest as much of our time as possible as the future of our industry lies within the minds of the young!

Please read below Ozak Esu’s most recent experience in line with our Outreach programme;

I am a GCSE Maths tutor with The Access Project which involves weekly one-hour tutorials with a student struggling in the subject. My most recent tutee achieved Grade A in her exams, and has decided to switch from studying medicine, to engineering subject combinations at A level. I am now working with my new pupil to hopefully achieve an even higher maths grade next year.

In the summer, I got to work with The Visiola Foundation in my home country, Nigeria, by guest speaking at the 2017 STEM Summer Camp for fifty teenage girls, aged 13 – 17. This year’s theme was “Renewable Energy for a Brighter Future” a very relevant topic as we experienced power cuts during the session. The experience made me reflect on my reasons for choosing to study electronic and electrical engineering, and personal situations that almost deterred me from getting a quality education. I found the experience very satisfying, and I hope to do more voluntary work in the months ahead in Nigeria.

I personally benefit from knowledge sharing in my professional career; be it from my peers, specialists, senior and more experienced engineers, through best practise meetings, smart buildings forum and CPDs/training. It’s been instrumental to my success in my role at Cundall.

Volunteering and outreach for me, is my way of passing on all the benefits I receive; a continuation of mutual benefits. I am able to develop my communication skills, have confidence in my knowledge, and have developed other soft skills which is vital for achieving chartership. The bonus of making a positive difference in a young person’s life, and inspiring them to pursue STEM careers is an extraordinary feel-good factor.

If you would like further information regarding our outreach programme, please contact Helen Abernethy on h.abernethy@cundall.com

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Future Engineers, Helen Abernethy, Inspiring the next generation

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