Bridging the Skills Gap


The beginning of 2017 was very exciting for Primary 5 & 6 pupils of St Andrew’s Primary in East Ayrshire as they took part in the Bridges to School project hosted by Alan White Design and Atkins Global.

Bridges to Schools is a hands-on activity which enables pupils to build a 12m long cable stayed bridge. Having assembled the bridge they then walk across it before deconstructing it, learning about bridges, teamwork and civil engineering as they go.

Local company Alan White Design is an established engineering consultancy business specialising in Access Engineering, Structural Design & Temporary Works. Having been regularly involved with schools across Ayrshire to help bring the curriculum to life, Managing Director Malachy Ryan, was more than happy to host the Bridges to Schools activity within St Andrew’s Primary and give pupils a real life hands on experience.

Deputy Head Teacher of St Andrew’s Primary and Early Childhood Centre Rhona McKillop stated:

“I think it’s really important for children to see the different employers that are out there within the local industry and for them to see what opportunities are available after education. I also think it’s absolutely vital for local businesses to get involved with schools as with areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) we can’t teach the pupils real life experiences without these employers getting involved and coming into the school to do this.”

After the activity was completed pupils were asked if they would now consider a career in engineering. With the majority of pupils raising their hand and saying that it is definitely a career path they would now be interested in, this was a very positive outcome for Malachy and one he was pleased to hear.

“I’ve been involved in STEM activities for around 3 -4 years now and I find it a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience. I’m also trying to promote Civil Engineering and now that I am an owner of the business I need to recruit Graduate Civil Engineers on an ongoing basis. If I can get in at an early age and convince these young people to take up a course in Civil Engineering that will allow us to get more people involved in the industry.”

Malachy Ryan, Managing Director, Alan White Design

If you would be interested in seeing some of the action which took place on the day watch our video below or click here.



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