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10th May 2024

At St Brendan’s Sixth Form College we have lots of enrichment opportunities for our students to get involved with. This year we’ve shone the spotlight and followed the journey of our Inspiring Engineers society, from the project launch all the way through to their Celebration Day at Mott MacDonald HQ last term.

Mott MacDonald is a global engineering, management and development consultancy. They work in 140 countries across sectors such as built environment, transport and energy. We’ve partnered with them to provide our students with a mentorship scheme, to give them an incredible insight into the working world of engineering.

Our budding engineers were given 6 months to plan and design the rebuild of an island town that had been destroyed by a natural disaster. Together with their mentors, our students have had weekly sessions to work on their projects, explore a wide variety of sectors within the industry and visit UWE’s School of Engineering.

At the end of March, all of their hard work culminated in the Celebration Day where our students pitched their solutions to industry experts. Their day kick-started with a tour of the departments in Mott MacDonald’s Bristol office followed by an overview of the impact the company has both locally and globally. After this, it was time for our students to split into their specialist teams – airports, accommodation, bridges, sustainability, and transport – to present their projects.


Their research included looking at how humanitarian aid would enter the area, creating a modular building structure to enhance its longevity and improving the sustainability with solar panels, bike shelters and electric bus interchanges.



This team highlighted the number of refugees caused by the natural disaster and the need to create an infrastructure that could weather future storms. They created prototypes with a floating structure that could handle rising water levels.



Before planning where and what types of bridge to build, this team researched the geography of the island as well as the best materials to use. They wanted to focus on areas of the island that were in need of development and avoid where the earthquake hot spots were located. Their materials of choice were steel and concrete, sourcing as much from the island as possible.



Part of their solution focused on the best crop to grow to support the residents of the island. They highlighted the benefits of sugar cane, its crop cycle and how it could be split across food, sugar and fuel. Growing crops would also provide jobs for the community, make the settlement self-sufficient and include space for solar energy.


This team proposed the construction of an “eruption train” which could transport a high volume of passengers and would run independently to the rest of the rail structure. The route was based on where the lava flow levels and featured a tunnel through the mountain to ensure a quick arrival to safety. They used a geographic information system (GIS) to determine where best to place trains and roads.

After the presentations, each team displayed their prototypes and designs for the staff at Mott MacDonald to get a closer look and ask any questions about their projects. They were impressed by the detailed and collaborative approach our students took, noting how apparent it was that the individual teams had worked together as a group to inform each other’s designs and make sure the solutions would combine seamlessly.

We’re so proud of our students and how much they’ve progressed throughout the Inspiring Engineers programme. The Celebration Day was the perfect time to reflect on their incredible work and ability to rethink and create innovative solutions. Once again, a massive thank you to all of the wonderful mentors from Mott MacDonald!


Want to find out more? You can read our other news stories below.

Launch day for our Inspiring Engineers!

A change of scenery for our Inspiring Engineers