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Neston High School girls get inspired by engineering masterclass

A photograph of pupils at Neston High School taking part on the Women in Engineering event, dressed in Personal Protective Equipment and using construction apparatus including a theodolite

A group of 30 year nine and ten pupils from Neston High School have taken part in an engineering masterclass delivered by Morgan Sindall, the contractor currently on site building a new, state-of-the-art, £20 million home for the school.

Timed to coincide with the annual Women in Engineering day (June 23), the half-day masterclass included an educational tour of the emerging new school and presentations from female engineers.

The presentations, which included question and answer sessions, were designed to provide a detailed insight into the roles an engineer performs and the types of career opportunities construction and engineering presents.

The new school is part of the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) which aims to provide purpose-built school buildings to those in most need of urgent repair.

Explaining the purpose of the event, Gill Roberts, Morgan Sindall’s community engagement manager, said: “There is a school of thought that girls are put off from careers in engineering or construction as they think those roles are not available to them. That is simply not the case.

“We think it is more often the case that young adults just don’t know what opportunities are available to them. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure as many youngsters as possible understand that rewarding careers are available in the sector regardless of their gender.”

One of the masterclass participants was Fay Wright, 15, from Neston High School. Fay has a keen interest in a career in construction and has recently started a work experience programme at the school’s new build site. She said: “It was really interesting to find out what role the engineers play in construction. I’ve always been interested in maths and science so it was good to see how those subjects are used in practical ways.

“I am definitely more interested in having an engineering career now that I understand what the job would involve.”

Steven Dool, Headteacher at Neston High School, added: “The educational opportunities presented by having a major construction project right on our doorstep are tremendous; having a contractor like Morgan Sindall which is so open and welcoming to our students is an added bonus and one which our students are benefiting from greatly.”

The masterclass was delivered by Gill Roberts, community engagement manager, and Katie Speakman, site manager from Morgan Sindall; Beth Guirey and Hannah Brankin from construction consultancy MACE and Jane Reader from engineering consultant, WSP.

Through the national PSBP programme, 261 schools will be rebuilt or have their condition needs met by the EFA, the first of which was completed in 2014. All schools within the programme will be delivered by the end of 2018.

This project forms part of the PSBP North West batch, awarded to a Morgan Sindall Investments/Equitix consortium in August 2014, which includes a total of 12 schools in Blackpool, Cheshire, Chester, Wigan, Manchester, Stockport and Wirral.

Across the PSBP north west batch programme, each new school will be built on land within the existing school boundary allowing the school to remain operational during construction of the new buildings. Once complete, the school will move into the new teaching facilities while the old buildings are demolished and external landscaping works are completed.

The full list of schools the Morgan Sindall Investments/Equitix consortium is delivering under the PSBP north west batch is as follows:

Secondary schools:

  • Blacon High School, Blacon, Chester
  • The Deanery Church of England High School and Sixth Form College, Wigan
  • Neston High School, Neston, Wirral
  • Ridgeway High School, Prenton, Wirral
  • South Shore Academy, Blackpool

Primary schools:

  • Bedford Drive Primary School, Birkenhead
  • Bridge Hall Primary School, Stockport
  • Dee Point Primary School, Blacon, Chester
  • Halebank Primary School, Halebank, Halton
  • Hawes Side Primary School, Blackpool
  • JH Godwin Primary School, Blacon, Chester
  • Plymouth Grove Primary School, Manchester