Building Bridges & Schools Visits

25th October, 2023
General News
Case Studies

Meaningful engagement with the next generation of engineers and construction industry workers is a key component of the Cross Tay Link Road project. Both Perth & Kinross Council and BAM UK & Ireland recognise their role in ensuring young people throughout Perth and Kinross have access to the opportunities presented by a project of this scale and status.

Recognising the ongoing skills shortage in STEM-based industries, the project’s Community Benefits team is currently rolling out a series of visits to showcase the depth and range of career opportunities available within the industry. This is particularly relevant when addressing gender balance within these traditionally male-dominated environments.

Sarah Gardner, Project Officer for Perth and Kinross Council, commented, "By using the Cross Tay Link Road project to inspire the next generation of engineers and construction workers, we're future-proofing the industry for years to come. By targeting school-aged pupils, the potential to inspire and influence subject choice and career paths is increased, offering long-term gains for the young people involved and the industry as a whole."

A number of visits have already taken place with encouraging results and the Institute of Civil Engineers’ approved Bridge Building Challenge is proving particularly popular.

John Slaven, Cross Tay Link Road Construction Manager for BAM UK & Ireland, commented, “School visits and events such as careers fairs give us an opportunity to explain to pupils of all ages the types of varied careers the construction industry can offer as well as outlining the types of subjects they should be studying to gain entry to our apprentice or graduate programmes."

  1. Pitcairn Primary School, 31st January 2024
  2. Craigie Primary School, 18th January 2024
  3. St Johns Academy, December 13th 2023
  4. Oakbank Primary School, September 12th 2023
  5. Blairgowrie High School, September 7th 2023
  6. Blairgowrie High School, September 5th 2023
  7. Technology Department, Kinross High School, February 2023
  8. Breadalbane Academy, Aberfeldy, January 2023
  9. Bertha Park High School, Perth, January 2023
  10. Blairgowrie High School, November 2022
  11. Technology Department, Kinross High School, February 2023
  12. Methven Primary School, May 2023
  13. Blairgowrie High School, November 2022

Over the course of the project the Social Value attached to the Building Bridges Challenge and Schools Visits is as follows:

  • 13 school visits
  • 2000+ hours donated
  • 1400+ pupils engaged

Pitcairn Primary School, January 2024

This special tree planting event at Pitcairn Primary School was run in conjunction with the Rewilding Denmarkfield project, which CTLR has supported over the past 18 months.

30 children from primary 4, 5 and 6, rolled up their sleeves to get stuck into a day of tree planting with Ellie Corsie and Izzy Jones from Rewilding Denmarkfield. This included digging the holes with the designated shovel carrier and holder, placing the trees into the hole, and then covering them with fresh soil. The adults drove the poles into the ground and the children then placed the bio-degradable guard over the tree and placed the soil firmly back over the bottom of the guard to prevent any wildlife eating or destroying the newly planted trees and plants.

Craigie Primary School, January 2024

The ever-popular Cable Stay Bridge Building Challenge made its way to Craigie Primary School for two sessions with P6 and P7 pupils. 56 students enjoyed a presentation from Innes Mackintosh before getting hands-on as apprentice engineers.

The team in attendance, Innes Mackintosh, Community Engagement Manager; Ronnie Carr, Site Agent; Glen Verney, Apprentice Engineer; and Amanda McClintock, Office Manager, were all extremely impressed with the kids who were enthusiastic from the off!

Mrs Beverley McNab, Primary P7 Teacher commented, “P6 and P7 had a great visit from the Cross Tay Link Road Team to talk about civil engineering and the Perth Transport Futures project. We saw great teamwork and building skills on display and would like to thank BAM UK & Ireland, PKC and DYW for the opportunity.

"From a teacher perspective we thought that the workshop was excellent, it provided opportunities for good teamwork and communication skills, along side engineering experiences. The children were motivated learnt a lot about the crossing project and bridges in general and loved trying out their bridge at the end."

Comments from the children:

  • I thought the workshop was good because you got to experience what they do, see all the different materials and see how they build the bridge.
  • I enjoyed building the bridge because it was fun and it helped me experience what a bridge maker does.
  • It was good because everyone did great teamwork.
  • Everyone was involved and did their job.
  • I liked that you could see how a suspension bridge was built and all the materials that were used.
  • It was exciting because we could try new things.
  • I learnt about the safety involved in bridge building.
  • I liked how you made it as realistic as possible.
  • We got to learn about how many tools and the different types of tools were needed to make the bridge.
  • We learnt about new tools – I didn’t know what a butterfly screw was before then.

St John's Academy, December 2023

Innes Mackintosh, Amanda McClintock, and Ronnie Carr from CTLR Community Benefits Team joined Morgan McLeod from the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) project, to offer primary six pupils of St Johns Academy the chance to take part in the Cable Stay Bridge Building Challenge.

Innes presented details of the CTLR Project to 60 students across two sessions.

Mrs McGaffney, Class teacher, "This was a fantastic hands-on activity for our class. The session was very well organised with good pace and challenge. It covered many curricular links and offered the pupils a chance to take leadership roles, problem solve and think strategically, as well as giving pupils insight into the Cross Tay Link. I would highly recommend this activity to schools."

Pupils themselves commented:

  • "I think it was great fun. We could see all our progress and then we could go on the bridge and have some fun." - TROY
  • "I really enjoyed the bridge building activity. It was fun being in a team and working with my classmates to build something that we could use at the end of the day." - JAC
  • "I enjoyed working together as a team. I liked having to problem solve and use the equipment. It was interesting to learn more about the Cross Tay Link. It was fun walking across the finished bridge. I felt happy and proud when we saw what we had built." - FREYA

Head teacher, Christine Robertson, Head Teacher commented, “This was a great opportunity for our pupils, so good to see them working hard and cooperating with each other. Hoping to we can do this again with another year group!”

Oakbank Primary School, September 2023

Innes Mackintosh and Cameron Swan attended Oakbank Primary School to inspire the P6 and P7 class - totally 62 pupils - with the Bam Nuttall Bridge Building Presentation. The pupils are all studying bridges and understanding land in Perthshire as part of their school curriculum.

Gail Juggins, the teacher who reached out to the Community Benefits team, commented, "Thanks for your visit. The children definitely enjoyed learning about all of the stages of the bridges and link roads. It was very useful to hear about all of the different tasks that the engineers have responsibility for.

"One of the main learning objectives for our topic was to focus on our local area, examine reasons for building a new bridge and the impact this is having on the environment and your ppt and presentation absolutely helped with this and made it much more real (and interesting) for the children."

Blairgowrie High School, September 2023

At the request of the Head Teacher, Lawrie Stewart, the CTLR project team was invited to spend two days at the Blairgowrie High School Freshers Week for S1 pupils. Using the Building Bridges Presentation and Building Bridges Challenge, the team motivated the young people in attendance to start their Secondary school journey by channelling their inner engineers!

12th September - Ross Fletcher, Calum Flett, Cerys Stewart and Innes Mackintosh led on three sessions and engaged 208 children.

14th September - Innes Mackintosh, Amanda McClintock, Cerys Stewart and Calum Flett led on one session and engaged 72 children.

Melissa Lawrence of the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW)project was also in attendance.

The school followed up with a Tweet of thanks: "Thank you to @bamnuttal and @PTfutures1 for delivering a fantastic bridge building workshop to nearly 200 of our S1 pupils as part of freshers week. Our pupils also enjoyed hearing about the project and learning about careers in Civil Engineering. #CrossTayLinkRoad @DYWTayCities"

Ross Fletcher, Senior Engineer with Roads Infrastructure at PKC commented, “Carrying out fun, informative tasks like this is an ideal way of engaging pupils and encouraging them to find out more. It is vital in securing a pipeline of new talent across the dozens of different job opportunities we can offer.”

Technology Department, Kinross High School, February 2023

The rising cost of raw materials is impacting negatively on opportunities for pupils in STEM-based subjects as schools make the tough decision to cut back on project expenses. Recognising that desk dividers bought throughout the COVID-19 pandemic could be recycled and used by Technology Departments, BAM Nuttall arranged for 30 screens to be packed up and delivered to Kinross High School.

Scott Urquhart, Principal Teacher at Kinross High School commented, “Many thanks to BAM Nuttall Ltd for their kind donation of 30 sheets of acrylic, our pupils will benefit greatly from these. Many of our S4 pupils are already looking forward to incorporating the 6mm thick sheets into their final SQA projects.

The increased cost of all materials is hitting school budgets hard and so it is a real bonus for the school and the pupils to have this thickness and quantity of materials.

Breadalbane Academy, Aberfeldy, January 2023

Several project team members attended the careers fairs held at Breadalbane Academy – which was open to pupils within the school, plus Pitlochry Primary and High Schools.

An early evening session at Breadalbane Academy also enabled parents to learn more about career opportunities in the construction industry for their children, ask questions about the project and meet some of the team.

As well as pupil engagement, networking with other organisations in attendance allowed our team the opportunity to discuss potential joint ventures. Since then, the project team has joined forces with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) to offer mock interviews, helping pupils prepare for real life situations.

Owen Wilson, Trainee Quantity Surveyor at BAM Nuttall commented, “Not everyone at school is thinking about what they want to do when they leave or aware of the range of possibilities that are available within the construction industry. I certainly wasn’t too aware when I was that age. If we can use events like this to start increasing awareness of the possibilities out there, hopefully, we can start reaching out to the next generation of engineers and quantity surveyors.”

Bertha Park High School, January 2023

Construction professionals from BAM Nuttall – Samantha Steven ,Business Improvement Coordinator, Matthew Rose ,Intermediate Quantity Surveyor and Calum Flett, Site Engineer – provided S4 and S5 pupils with an insight into the various job roles and careers available within the construction industry, as well as sharing their personal pathways from study to career.

As a result, Perth & Kinross Council and BAM Nuttall propose to work further with the school to facilitate site visits, which may lead to work experience for those with a keen interest in the construction industry.

Blairgowrie High School, November 2022

More than 140 S1 pupils were introduced to The Institution of Civil Engineers’ approved Bridge Building Challenge, aimed at assisting them to make informed decisions when choosing subjects for a career in engineering.

Construction professionals from Perth & Kinross Council and BAM Nuttall supervised the construction of a weight-bearing bridge made from paper, string, and tape.

After being briefed on the task, the pupils were split into groups to design, build and test their structure which had to span a 500mm gap between two desks at a width of 200mm. Many innovative solutions followed, including one or two that our engineers hadn’t considered!