Pupils at St Gildas, London discover what it means to be a Transport Planner

As part of our ongoing commitment to the Year of Engineering, and to encourage and inspire young people to become the next generation of engineers, members of the team here at Curtins often visit primary and secondary schools local to our 14 offices to hold talks and demonstrations.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to two Year 5 classes at St Gildas’ Catholic Junior School in Crouch End, London on Wednesday 7th February. Each session lasted just under an hour and was split into two segments.

In the first half of the lesson I discussed my background with the students, explaining how and why I chose Transport Planning as a career. I then explained how important Transport Planning is: from ensuring roundabouts are safe and work effectively, to showing the students how important maps are in my role, giving examples of transport routes used in the U.K and Europe.

The second half of the lesson was a practical exercise which combined both Geography and Maths skills – calculating area, interpreting data, graphs and statistics – by observing the city of Las Vegas and its extensive growth since the 1980s. The children were tasked with reviewing several aerial photographs of Las Vegas over a number of years. Then, by using the grid lines and knowledge of the area for each square, the pupils were asked to calculate the total area of the city for the years 1982, 1990, 2000. Students were then asked to predict how big they thought Las Vegas would be in 2015 based on any trends in the city’s past growth. To finish the task, the children were handed the actual 2015 aerial photograph to compare against their predictions.

Feedback showed that both Year 5 classes enjoyed the presentation and activity. They asked me some very interesting and engaging questions, such as what was the highest, lowest and funniest points in my career so far!  The children also appreciated the branded merchandise at the end!

I had a great morning with the children and look forward to holding even more sessions with local schools! It is our aim to help inspire the next generation of inventors, problem solvers and innovators by showing them what engineers really do!