Since my experiences at the Crossrail, where I have been lucky enough to gain work experience across Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Liverpool St, Whitechapel, Mile End, Paddington, and Bond St, Stations. It is the ability to work in an environment of open communication and transparency with one another that makes this work.
I spent 2 weeks with Crossrail, a new sustainable railway for London and the south East, that will reduce crowding on tubes, trains and buses. The biggest engineering project in Europe. Its aims to leave a lasting skills legacy for the construction industry. The STEM Insight programme a unique industrial work experience for teachers and technicians, organised by Stem Learning.
My main focus in participating was to seek out female engineers as inspirational role models, and to learn about engineering and its career paths.
I really enjoyed my placement, being a great believer in teacher research I think it’s really important we know what’s going on out there beyond our own schools.
During the 2 weeks we travelled and visited the various sites, of the new stations being built in London for Crossrail. As well as the Canary Wharf site which will be one of Crossrails largest stations, we visited many stations as mentioned above.
With the tunnels complete, and handed over to the contractors who are now in charge of the installation of track, ventilation, high voltage power, traction power, signalling and communications. Looking back, these were all part of the discussions, we grew accustomed listening to, in the lead up and next phase of construction.
Other outings included the London Transport Museum, the Tunneling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), Crossrail’s training centre, Places and Spaces: Urban Integration and Development, and meetings with Steve Hails Director of Health & Safety, Women in Construction, HR and the complexity of IT department.
Just to give an appreciation of what we actually got up to in our placement. On the first day after our introduction we were straight on the train into London, where we met up with the Archaeology team
at Farringdon Station where the 660-year-old burial ground was unearthed.
As part of the construction programme, Crossrail undertook one of the most extensive and largest archaeological investigations ever undertaken in the UK. This began at Liverpool St, with up to 80 Archaeologist working on the site at the time to ensure archaeological finds were preserved and to avoid delays to construction programme.
We partook in a tour of the area and learned and understood about the importance of Archaeology within the construction industry, a job that requires patience and dedication, because seeing a site through from start to finish is a long, slow process. However its connections with construction – my word, was put to bed, how could I have been so ignorant to its importance in the industry, especially with big build projects and the history within London. This was precisely why I was on the placement to learn about different and diverse career paths and routes at all levels.
Our next stop, Liverpool St, this was an interesting visit because behind the window hoardings, was where one of the largest archaeological excavations on the Crossrail project first began, and we were given a chance opportunity to go on site and see the scale of the operation, seen in image above, And there I was being able to get down on the site standing on the grounds with hundreds of years of history.
To experience all the media attention at that time, when some of London’s remarkable past was uncovered. Which was the Bedlam burial ground, the lost Walbrook River and the mystery surrounding the Skull discoveries found by the old riverbank. turned out to being one of the most educational and interesting visits of the placement. Crossrail have ensured they are preserving all the archaeological finds.
The Highlight for me though has to be going underground 30 meters below ground level, at the Bond St site. Civil Engineer Helen MacAdam, very kindly shared her knowledge and experiences with us, she gifted us with rare access, as we went down the different levels. Seeing first-hand the tunnels taking shape, I found this to be a very absorbing experience. It was good to witness first-hand how the new and innovative sustainable features were
being embedded in the walls of the site. Also observing the newly sprayed concrete lined tunnels, that will be used as passenger and service passageways. For me – Bond St, was the highlight of the placement! Helen was one of the engineers
invited back to school appropriately in Careers Week, where she delivered her very inspiring story of her career journey from Oxford Graduate to Civil Engineer, students were gripped by her story and career route, and many as a result decided to consider some kind of engineering as anoption for their their career.
I used a number of sources as evidence to record my Stem Insight experience. However, in the closing stages, I decided to use photography/video, I finalised it by making a Vlog. It was lovely to hear from Lauren Hillier at Crossrail in regards to the film, her opinion definitely mattered to me, as I love the film! I now use it to
inspire students during assemblies/lessons.
As I write a fleet of the 66 new 200 metre long trains featuring walk through carriges, air conditioning, cctv and real time travel information, was given a test run last week. They will run on the Elizabeth Line with each train able to carry up to 1,500 people
Many thanks to Crossrail for hosting me and Stem Leaning for organising, this brilliant programme and initiative, I feel priveledge to have been part of this pilot