Sunderland teachers and students bridge the gap to stem careers

Sunderland teachers and female students are to be given a unique insight into careers in the construction and engineering industries as part of this year’s Work Discovery Week programme.

Work Discovery Week organisers have joined forces with FVB Joint Venture, which has been appointed by Sunderland City Council to build a new cable-stayed bridge over the River Wear.

And now – in two separate visits – both teachers and female students will see at first hand the job opportunities in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors.

Girls from schools in Sunderland will attend sessions on the New Wear Crossing site in the city as part of national Women In Engineering day, to showcase potential careers in the sector.

And next week teachers of STEM-related subjects will also visit the site and meet people working across all areas of the development, along with being given information about working in the construction sector.

“Our unique, innovative initiative exposes teachers to the construction sector areas that they would not normally come across and affords them a behind-the-scenes look at construction,” said Brigid McGuigan, Community Engagement Manager for Farrans Construction, which has formed a joint venture with Victor Buyck Steel Construction to deliver the bridge project.

“It is specifically tailored to STEM agendas and teachers get to see and meet a diverse range of trades and professionals in construction, as well as discovering more about the ever-changing methodologies that we use in the industry.

“This is the biggest construction project underway in the North East, encompassing a huge range of complexities and technologies, so it’s a great opportunity for us to share what we are doing with teachers and students.”

Paul McEldon, co-chair of Work Discovery Week, said the visits were a great opportunity for young people and teachers to find out about the construction industry.

“We’re delighted that FVB Joint Venture is supporting the Work Discovery Week programme,” he said.

“The New Wear Crossing is a massive development for Sunderland and it also presents a first class opportunity to showcase the potential career paths that the construction industry can offer.”

The two visits are taking place ahead of this year’s Work Discovery Week, which launches on July 11 at the Stadium of Light.

Around 1000 young people from 19 schools will be involved in the week-long event, which is part of the wider Work Discovery Sunderland programme.

This year’s Work Discovery Week is being supported by a range of leading business sponsors from across the region, including Accenture, the University of Sunderland, Sunderland College, Nissan and Make It Sunderland, along with SAFC, Sunderland City Council and the NECC.

Other sponsors include Gentoo, Liebherr UK, the Bridges, Calsonic Kansei, Northern Print Solutions, Unipres, Arriva and North East LEP.

The New Wear Crossing is part of a wider transport plan to improve links between the Port of Sunderland and the city centre with the A19. Once complete, in the spring of 2018, it will help attract new jobs and investment to Sunderland and will be the catalyst for regeneration in the area.

The bridge, the centrepiece of which will be a striking 105m A-framed pylon that will be twice as high as Nelson’s Column, will be the first to be built in the city over the Wear for more than 40 years.

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