6 August - A NSW team this week won the first Aurecon interstate Bridge Building competition for senior school students based on load capacity. While the competition has been running for ten years in some states, this is the first time a national prize has been awarded.
The St Pius X High School Adamstown, NSW, constructed the strongest bridge design from balsa wood, glue and cardboard that withstood the pressure of 100.6 kg before collapsing. This was nearly 20 kg more than their nearest rivals, Kaniva College Boy’s team in Victoria, managed with their bridge.
Judges also awarded points for aesthetics and workmanship. Cash prizes were won by the first three highest overall scores in each state. First place each collected $1500 for their school and took home an additional $200.
In Victoria the Kaniva College boys’ team won first place at a bridge collapsing weight of 81.2 kg, the Kaniva College Girls’ team won second place with the team’s bridge collapsing at 58 kg. The Plenty Valley Christian College placed third with a weight collapse of 50 kg.
South Australia’s defending Champions - Westminster School walked away with the highest score and a load capacity of 22.3 kg. Rostrevor College claimed second prize and a weight capacity of 14.8 kg. A second Westminster group collected third prize with a weight capacity of 16.4 kg.
NSW winners include St Pius X High School, Adamstown winning first place. Second was awarded to Green Point Christian College with a load capacity of 65 kg. Keira High School collected third prize with a load capacity of 52.2 kg. A special prize was awarded to The Jannali High School in Sydney for achieving the highest score in aesthetics, Innovation and workmanship.
St Pius also won the load capacity national prize of $1500 for their school, with the three team members each taking home $200. The team will also be invited to spend a day with Aurecon to experience a day in the life of an engineer at close hand.
Robert Emery, St Pius X School Principal said, “We value high quality experiences like this that encourage and challenge students to use their ability and talent to realise their full potential. I love the fact the kids have won an opportunity to visit Aurecon and experience a day in the life of an engineer.”
Bill Cox, Aurecon’s General Manager for Transport (Asia Pacific) explained: “The students delivered a phenomenal result considering the basic materials involved. We are also delighted to see female students embracing the opportunity and excelling this year.”
The Aurecon 2010 Bridge Building Competition has been created to inspire and challenge students to think laterally and solve a specific problem using engineering and technical skills.
Mr Cox continued: “This competition has been a resounding success; we had 423 students comprising 141 teams from 111 schools registered to compete this year and plan to roll it out to even more states in 2011.”
The annual event complements Aurecon's efforts to encourage secondary school students to consider the engineering profession before they choose their electives for the Higher School Certificate.
"By encouraging the youth of today, we are investing in the engineers of tomorrow," said Bill.
"We hope this event encourages the students to take up STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) so they will have the opportunity to one day have a career in this most crucial profession."
An estimated shortfall of more than 25,000 engineering career opportunities currently exist in the Australian market, according to the Chief Executive of Engineers Australia, Peter Taylor, who says these numbers will only increase as Australia continues to recover from the global financial crisis.