New Zealand’s largest roading infrastructure project - the NZ Transport Agency’s Waterview Connection in Auckland - is taking on a new role as a "classroom" for secondary school students.
Students from Alfriston College in Auckland’s south were today the first of 200 Year 10 students from 14 Auckland secondary schools who will visit the site. They are getting a behind the scenes look at the work to complete the Waterview Connection project which connects the city’s Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways.
The cross agency initiative through the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission aims to influence and support students thinking about their subject selection for their further learning and in particular to consider engineering as a career option. The initiative is supported by the Transport Agency and the Well-Connected Alliance which is constructing the Waterview Connection.
The chairman of the Well-Connected Alliance Board, Roger McRae, welcomes the visits and says there is more to them than showcasing the country’s most ambitious roading project.
"Hosting the students is also a great chance to use Waterview with all its innovations and challenges to address a critical skills shortage to help keep New Zealand growing. There is unprecedented growth in the construction and engineering industries and there are many career opportunities across the board from engineers, technicians and tradespeople," Mr McRae says.
The NZ Transport Agency’s State Highways Manager Brett Gliddon says the next few decades will see a lot of important infrastructure delivered across the country.
"We want to give young New Zealanders a glimpse of how exciting and varied an engineering career can be and showcase the fantastic opportunities there are ahead for those who embark on this career path. The Waterview Connection is a great way to inspire them and spark their imagination"
The above ground tours include Waterview’s southern and northern sites, including the Great North Road Interchange spanning the Northwestern Motorway.
Schools will have the opportunity to engage in a range of activities in the lead up to a challenge event . These activities include presentations by engineers through the Futureintech Ambassador programme, Waterview virtual field trip facilitated by LEARNZ (CORE Education), visits to engineering departments across five tertiary providers, workplace visits and a trip to the Waterview Connection construction site.
Students from each school will also create a three-minute video clip or PowerPoint presentation about what they have learnt about engineering.
At the end a team of three students from each school will take part in a challenge event on 4 September which will be a practical engineering-related activity. Prizes will be awarded to the winning team and the school with the winning presentation.
The week’s visits follow on from another educational initiative involving Waterview.
Earlier this month, the project hosted a second visit from the LEARNZ education team, which videos virtual field trips and plays them into classrooms all over New Zealand.
The project’s tunnel boring machine, Alice, was "the star" when LEARNZ visited last year. The second virtual field trip focussed on the Waterview or north end of the project and the work related to the construction of the Great North Road Interchange to connect the Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways.
The Waterview Connection completes Auckland’s Western Ring Route. The alternative to the SH1 Southern and Northern Motorways will be 47 kilometres long between Albany and Manukau. The Western Ring Route will improve city and regional transport connections, and is identified by the Government as a Road of National Significance because of its importance to New Zealand’s economy.
Join Voxy on Google+.