T&G Structural Engineers support programme aimed at encouraging tomorrow’s talent
Where do towering oak trees come from? Tiny acorns of course. And how do mighty rivers start? With just a little trickle naturally.
Everything begins somewhere. Tomorrow’s harvest relies on sowing the seeds today. That’s just what local company T&G Structural Engineers has been doing recently. The organisation, whose projects include El Tico beach cantina, St Martin’s School and The Beaumont Inn, has been working with young islanders to sow the seeds of interest among potential engineers of the future.
The Primary and Secondary Engineer programmes are educational initiatives aimed at raising awareness and interest in engineering among school children of all ages. Why? To encourage those taking part to consider a career in engineering upon leaving school or university. Think of it as a long-term investment: with demand for engineering skills outstripping supply, sowing plenty of seeds now will hopefully lead to sustained growth in the future.
That’s certainly one of the reasons T&G became involved. Excellence in engineering is deeply embedded within the company’s DNA. It needs highly skilled staff capable of taking on design challenges from small domestic building projects to massive public works. Such talent is not always easy to find, especially within Jersey’s strictly limited labour pool. Helping to sow seeds of interest in engineering among local youngsters makes lots of sense therefore – and involves lots of fun.
‘We work with Skills Jersey on both Primary and Secondary Engineer programmes,’ explains T&G MD Johnny Moffett. ‘One activity involves the youngsters being set an engineering task – constructing a simple model for example. Another allows the pupils to think of a challenge then design something to overcome it. This really gets the creative juices flowing. One lad decided he needed a special separation screen to keep him and his sister apart in the car. Another came up with a robot to help with getting dressed in the morning. No shortage of innovative thinking!’
After receiving training from UK-based organisers, Johnny and other members of the T&G team visited local primary and secondary schools to help introduce the programme. They returned to offer practical advice and guidance to the pupils working on their tasks. Finally, there was the tough job of shortlisting designs to forward for judging alongside others from all over the country. Ultimately, those deemed best are built by a team at Kingston University.
‘Being involved is a great honour and choosing the best designs a heavy responsibility,’ continues Johnny, ‘but it’s also a tremendous opportunity to engage with young people and encourage them to consider a future career in our industry. They gain real insight into what structural and civil engineering involves, how stimulating and rewarding the work can be, and the kind of tools modern engineers use in their jobs. For a generation growing up attached to a computer, seeing our advanced 3D design technology and use of virtual reality can be a real eye-opener. It’s far removed from the perception of guys in oily overalls or crouched over a drawing board with pencil and ruler.’
Over 700 local pupils took part in this year’s programme. T&G’s participation follows 10 year’s involvement in Project Trident, the government sponsored work experience scheme that all local secondary school children take part in.
‘As a Jersey company we feel a strong sense of responsibility towards supporting the local community,’ Johnny elaborates. ‘Being able to engage with young people through initiatives such as Project Trident and Primary and Secondary Engineers is part of this. And if it leads to us inspiring engineers – and potential employees – of the future, well that’s all for the better.’