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Bridge Building Competition Entice Learners to Study Engineering At DUT

Bridge Building Competition Entice Learners to Study Engineering At DUT

Grade 11 learners Inca Cornje, Cailin Prinsloo and Courtney Hill

The 2018 Bridge Building Competition, organised by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), in partnership with the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment and Naidu Consulting, was held at the Coastlands on the Ridge Hotel on Thursday, 2 August 2018.

Competitions such as the (SAICE) Bridge Building competition allow learners to experience what civil engineering and infrastructure entails. Schools in and around KwaZulu-Natal were armed with their hand-made, mathematically calculated wooden bridges and were judged on the aesthetic value to the bridge, simplicity of design and stability. The learners had to apply themselves and create a bridge following specific instructions set out by the judges.  The bridge that could withstand the heaviest load and not crack or break under pressure took first prize.

After much deliberation, Our Lady of Fátima Dominican Convent School was declared the winner. Grade 11 learners Inca Cornje, Cailin Prinsloo and Courtney Hill won with a load capacity of 400 Newtons (40,8 kgs). In second and third place were teams from Fairvale Secondary School. Winning the Phil Everitt Most Innovative Design award went to Olwandle High School.

The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) initiated this competition in 1991 to further high school learners’ use of Mathematics and Physical Science in order to grow the profession. It has since become an enormous success. The bridge building competition forms an integral part of some schools’ activities and is recognised on the same level as academic or sports achievements. Due to its practical and hands-on nature, this event is SAICE’s most successful initiative in attracting learners to civil engineering, as well as promoting a general awareness of the profession.

Speaking at the competition, Professor Theo Andrew, Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, thanked the SAICE and Naidu Consulting for including DUT to be part of such an event.

“The SAICE International Bridge Building Competition is an ideal opportunity for DUT to live out its two DNA stands which is student-centredness and engagement. An Engineering qualification is your (learners) passport, especially if you come from South Africa as our engineers have a high class reputation around the world,” he said.

Reiterating the need for more learners to embark in such a career, Morag Horne from Naidu Consulting thanked DUT for investing in the province’s youth and becoming an active contributor to the community. She also encouraged learners to pursue a career in Engineering at DUT.

SAICE’s Durban Branch Chairman, Josh Padayachee, also stressed the vital need for learners to think about studying towards a career in Engineering. He also added that building bridges meant more than calculations, it meant forging relationships within communities,” he said.

Pictured:  Our Lady of Fátima Grade 11 learners Inca Cornje, Cailin Prinsloo and Courtney Hill, the winners at the 2018 Bridge Building Competition, organised by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE).

Waheeda Peters

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