Gatwick inspires future female engineers with transatlantic lab

Posted on 5 October, 2021 by Advance 

Skilled workers from Gatwick Airport Ltd helped inspire future female engineers across Sussex and New York as they hosted a virtual transatlantic ‘lab’ in collaboration with Engineering Tomorrow, an organisation which introduces secondary school students to various fields of engineering.

Image courtesy Gatwick

More than 70 female students – including pupils from Millais School in Horsham and Mount Saint Ursula in the Bronx – took part in the event on 22 September, which was the first of its kind for Engineering Tomorrow involving a UK school.

The ‘lab’ gave students experience of designing, building and testing their own bridges, with support from expert engineers. They were also able to learn how structures connect communities across the globe and investigate the impact of different materials and designs.

Students were guided through the lab by engineers from Gatwick - apprentice Jiane Vane and baggage engineer Elliott Moreton - and Richa Singhal from Engineering Tomorrow.

Millais students Heather Surely and Millie Taylor-Brewin, said: “It was a real privilege to be able to take part in this transatlantic experience, to meet the engineers and the students from America and to share our attempts at building bridges.”

Elliott Moreton, baggage engineer, Gatwick Airport said: “It was great to see two groups of aspiring female engineers working together, learning and challenging themselves on opposite sides of the world while still sharing the same language and intellect of engineering. I hope that at Gatwick, we can carry on the international partnership in the near future and influence more aspiring young engineers.”

Matthew Holmes, teacher, Millais School said: “Our students were so excited about the workshop and loved working on the practical challenge of building the bridges. The engineers presented valuable insights in to engineering as a career and the content on structures and forces was directly relevant to the GCSE Engineering syllabus. Many thanks to all involved in making this possible.”

Earlier this month, Gatwick welcomed former Millais School student, Abi Davies, onto its engineering apprenticeship scheme – one of two females among the four-person cohort for 2021.

Gatwick has started a 12-week public consultation on its plan to bring its existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside its Main Runway, which closes on 1 December. Full consultation materials are available on the web pages along with a virtual exhibition and an option to book a telephone surgery with project experts or to request a virtual briefing for local stakeholder groups.

If the plans to bring the airport’s Northern Runway into routine use are successful, an additional 18,400 jobs through could be generated for the region by 2038, including jobs in construction and engineering.