President inspires future bridge builders

Published: 08/03/2017

Ian Firth, President of The Institution of Structural Engineers, visited Stebon School in Poplar, East London on 6 March to give a talk to school children about careers in engineering.

Ian, who has worked on world- famous bridges like Erskine Bridge in Scotland, West Gate Bridge in Melbourne, and Stonecutters’ Bridge in Hong Kong, gave a talk to a class of Year 6 children and took questions afterwards.

During his talk, which saw him discuss the engineering behind major London landmarks like the Millennium Dome, as well as the many bridges he helped to design, Ian emphasised the importance of hard work, learning from mistakes, and working as a team in structural engineering careers.

Ian said: 

“I’m absolutely delighted to visit Stebon School today and talk to young Londoners about engineering careers. We have an established shortage of engineers in this country and part of the problem is that not enough children are exposed to engineering early enough – and fewer still get to meet engineers face-to-face and ask questions. There is nothing like meeting a structural engineer in person to explain what an incredibly varied and exciting profession it is.”

Atlanta Duffy, Art and DT teacher at Stebon Primary School said:

“We were thrilled with Ian’s visit today: the children have been busy on a bridge project, studying the main types of bridge and famous engineers of the past like Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Ian’s visit was a really unique chance to ask questions and learn about a wonderful career path that they might not otherwise have considered. We’d like to thank Ian and The Institution of Structural Engineers for arranging the visit and giving such an inspiring talk to our children.”

(Images below: Stebon children have been trying out exercises to help them think about basic engineering forces like compression and tension, which they showed off during Ian's visit.) 

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