Young engineers have benefited from getting up-close with Scottish engineering as part of a three-day trip with the Rochester Bridge Trust.
The Trust took five of its Arkwright Engineering Scholars as part of a hands-on experience in learning about engineering across the country.
Here, some of the scholars tell us their favourite parts of the trip, what they learned and how it inspired them to delve deeper into the realm of bridges and engineering.
Our scholars had a lot to say when asked what their favourite part of the trip was!
Jessica Salisbury, one of the very first Arkwright Scholars now working at Morgan Sindall, described seeing the Forth Bridge as a “shift in public belief in engineering capabilities”. She continued: “That in itself is pretty awesome to behold, yet the physical structure manages to be even more so – with the second longest cantilever span in the world, despite its construction being nearly 140 years ago. I also loved seeing the juxtaposition of the modern steel-cladded Kelpie structures juxtaposed with the Celtic mythology of their namesakes.”
Freddy Bott added: “I loved seeing the guts of the machinery behind the operation of the Falkirk Wheel. I was particularly blown away by the walk down the centre of the axle to emerge at one end 15m in the air, it was a privilege to be allowed such complete access to a massive working piece of machinery.”
There were lots of surprises when getting closer to the ins and outs of how the different structures worked, with Joseph Igoe, one of the current Arkwright Scholars, saying: “It is difficult to appreciate the sheer scale of such a project and all the considerations and tolerances that are necessary. I had previously not realised quite how much bridges are intended to flex as the loads and forces on them change.”
Freddy added to this: “I was surprised to find out how much bridges expand and sway. I guess I always assumed they are more rigid than the reality. Mind blowing to think that the road bridge can change shape by 6,000mm on a hot day. Also, mind blowing to feel it move slightly as trucks went over the bridge.”
Aileen White, Education Officer at the Rochester Bridge Trust, said: “It is wonderful see the impact this trip has had on our scholars, and drives home the importance of hand-on experience when it comes to engineering.
“At the Rochester Bridge Trust, we are big believers in learning through play, and what better way to learn than getting stuck into the nitty gritty and appreciating how massive structures you see every day, actually work? We are pleased everyone enjoyed the trip and it was definitely a success.”
Assistant Warden Sarah Hohler echoed the sentiment, adding: “I was a bit concerned I would find the heights and climbs too challenging, but our guides were so good that no one had a problem. A glimpse of the engineering world made we want to learn more, but my second-best impression was how enthusiastic, engaged and polite our scholars were.”
This trip was part of a series of engineering experiences offered to the scholars as part of their sponsorship by the Rochester Bridge Trust. To find out more about Arkwright Scholarships visit www.arkwright.org.uk.
See more photos from the visit here.