Inspiring the next generation of engineers

The Transmission Gully project team were proud to be involved in the 2017 IPENZ Week of Engineering, which ran from 31 July to 5 August 2017. This series of events across the country aims to inspire and inform young people interested in pursuing a career in engineering.

As part of this, a group of local Porirua College Year 12 and 13 students spent the day touring the Transmission Gully project site and talking with our civil and structural engineers along the way about what led them into their career choice and what it means to them to be an engineer.

We also took part in the successful Engineering Expo held at Te Papa on 5 August 2017. To find out more about IPENZ and the next Week of Engineering visit the following websites: link) link)

Rocket challenge inspiring future Kiwi engineers

The Transmission Gully motorway project team partnered with Engineering NZ, and recently took part in the 'Wonder Project rocket challenge'. The challenge runs for six weeks – through May and June, and aims to teach students Newton's laws of motion, spark their creative thinking and inspire them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

One of the project's Site Engineers, who is a Wonder Project Ambassador, volunteered time each week to support a class of year 7 and 8 students at Pauatahanui School, to design, build and then launch their very own water rockets.

The students also learnt about our Site Engineer's role on the project, and the types of engineering innovation and challenges involved in his job, and how the students could transfer these skills to their own rocket building endeavours.

Two rocket launching kits and parachutes were donated by the Transmission Gully motorway project, along with safety glasses and hi-vis vests, to keep them safe during the launching phase.

Check out the highlights video of the students’ journey over the past six weeks.

Students inspired by motorway ‘wonders’

The Tawa College visitors pictured above the the Bridge over Cannons Creek; from left, Michelle Pearson, 17; Maddy Swaine, 17; Rahul Vijayasenan, 17; Anika Park, 13; Raneldo Livapulu, 16; Weston Sao, 16; Ethan de Brouwer, 16; teacher Brian Sturman and Despot Gavrić, 14.

‘Amazing’, ‘impressive’, ‘inspiring’, ‘fun’. These were among the reactions of eight Tawa College students guided through the southern part of the motorway project in August.

Their visit was part of Wonder Week, an Engineering New Zealand initiative to help inspire young Kiwis to enter careers in science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Youngest in the visiting group, Anika Park, 13, who made the ‘fun’ comment, said she liked maths and science and was drawn to building and engineering while playing Lego with her Dad. She was interviewed above the curved Bridge over Cannons Creek – the project’s largest structure - which has been launched incrementally across the gully to land on bridge piers and finally the northern abutment. Asked if the ‘real thing’ had convinced her to study engineering, she replied, “Maybe!”

Despot Gavrić, 14, had the same response. “I’m interested in science and didn’t realise how much physics was involved. Quite a bit more to think about than just construction. If the chance comes up… maybe this would be a useful career.”

Another of the students, Rahul Vijayasenan, 17, was very impressed, adding that the field trip was helping inspire him to pursue his passion for physics, chemistry and calculus at university next year.

Wonder Week takes students behind the scenes of New Zealand’s largest and most successful engineering firms, manufacturers, research centres and tech companies to get a real glimpse of job options. The visit included a presentation by the project’s Zone Manager for Linden-Tawa, on challenges and progress around the Kenepuru Interchange and Collins Avenue overbridge areas. A survey drone was demonstrated by the project’s Survey Manager and GIS Analyst and a general overview of engineering and associated professions was provided by Senior Project Engineers.

The project’s survey team gives students a drone demonstration and talks through the vital role they play in supporting their work on the project.

“It’s like unveiling fascinating secrets behind Transmission Gully motorway’s building and technology,” says Tawa College Science Teacher, Brian Sturman. “Without hearing and seeing first-hand, we’d have no idea of the amount of thought and effort involved by all, to deliver this massive project.”

Wonder Week joins a long list of mentoring initiatives deployed during the project’s history to employ and train young local jobseekers and enthuse students about further education and opportunities in construction and related industries.