Teenagers got a taste of life as a civil engineer during a special workshop at Wayland Academy.

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The day-long session at the Skills Centre in Watton this week was led by experts from the industry – Stephen Hague, from the Institution of Civil Engineers and Dan Russell, of Bam Nuttall contractors.

As well as listening to a talk by the professionals, the students got the chance to design and build a prototype of a single-span footbridge.

They were only given paper, sticky tape and string to work with and each bridge was tested to see how much weight it could hold.

Mr Russell said: “People don’t know what civil engineering is and this workshop makes people realise what it is about.”

Mr Hague said: “It is about linking education and the jobs market and trying to get kids enthused before they choose the subjects they do at A-level.”

Teenagers aged between 14 and 17 took part in the workshop and came from Attleborough High School, Hockwold and Methwold Community School and Hamond’s High School in Swaffham.

A session focusing on a day in the life of an architect was held on July 31 at the Skills Centre.

Pupils attended from Neatherd High School and Northgate High School in Dereham, Thetford Academy, Sprowston Community High School and Wayland Academy.

Sali Martin, exams manager at Wayland Academy, who organised the workshops, said: “It is about trying to widen the knowledge of the construction and engineering courses which are out there and encourage the more academic students who would dismiss them.

“It is to allow them to think about what is out there and what they can achieve through other courses.”

She hoped two more sessions on a day in the life of a quantity surveyor and a site manager would be held at the Skills Centre in the autumn.

One of the teenagers at the workshop said it helped boost his imagination. The Skills Centre opened three years ago and teaches practical engineering and construction courses.

sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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