Bridging the gap – Jones Bros is giving youngsters civil engineering insight5th Jun 2024

Jones Bros is giving budding civil engineers of the future a glimpse into the industry with its Build a Bridge Challenge.

Presenting an enlightening and hands-on experience designed to captivate individuals of all ages, the task helps foster an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Participants are given the opportunity to construct a 13-metre cable-stayed suspension bridge, which each member is invited to cross once building has been completed.

Aimed principally at primary and secondary school pupils, the process develops teamwork, creativity, and practical problem-solving skills.

Sponsors Jones Bros provides hard hats, high-visibility clothing, gloves, and goggles for the two groups, which consist of peggers, cleaters, fixers, and transporters that work from either end of the bridge.

Gwynedd-based trio Ysgol O M Edwards (Llanuwchllyn), Ysgol Bro Tryweryn (Frongoch), and Ysgol Ffridd y Llyn (Cefnddwysarn), as well as Denbighshire’s Ysgol Bro Dyfrdwy (Cynwyd) are amongst the schools to have participated in the challenge.

Jones Bros head of business management systems and support Tony Murphy, who helps coordinate the visits, said: “It is a wonderful hour of fun for a class of students, and I know everyone thoroughly enjoys contributing to the challenge.

“It’s brilliant that pupils can learn so many life skills, such as teamwork, confidence, responsibility, and health and safety, whilst learning.

“The task obviously targets STEM subjects, but it also helps with aspects like geography in terms of where to build bridges, language with new words learned, and listening a vital part of the assignment, as well as art when it comes to exploring ideas, shapes, and spaces.

“As a company, we are always keen to help nurture future civil engineers, and this gives us the perfect opportunity to answer questions and garner interest in the industry.”

Ysgol O M Edwards headteacher Sion Tudor Jones, who is also acting head of Ysgol Bro Tryweryn and Ysgol Ffridd y Llyn, said: “One of the topics we were looking at this term was around bridges following the tragic events in Baltimore.

“So, when the opportunity to take part in the Build a Bridge Challenge with Jones Bros came up, it was perfect timing.

“It offered the pupils some important work around STEM, providing great insight into how bridges are constructed and learning the meaning of words such as tension and anchor.”

Established in the 1950s, Jones Bros owns one of the largest plant fleets in the UK and employs approximately 500 people.

The company is currently working on contracts in various sectors including highwaysflood and marine defencewaste management and renewable energy around the UK.

The company runs an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, which has produced nearly 40 per cent of its current workforce, with many of its senior managers having started out as apprentices or in a trainee role. It has recruited more than 100 apprentices during the past three years.