As children transition from primary school to secondary school, 11+ examinations form a key part of this process. However, thinking beyond the challenge of examinations and understanding how the content relates to actual work, is a key aspect at secondary education and even more so when moving to GCSEs and A-levels. Engineering is a primary example of how targeted activities in schools can promote the perception of the world of work to students. Whilst in the UK, there are many institutions like the institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) or Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) which do exactly that, elsewhere around the world it is not too much different.

As an example, the institution of Civil Engineers celebrated its 200th anniversary this year, by putting the world’s longest Lego bridge on display in Hong Kong. This bridge was assembled by none other than 70 students from top secondary schools in Hong Kong and demonstrates that even at a small age benchmarks can be set. More importantly, it illustrates that learning does not always have to be in a class room environment.

Understanding Engineering at secondary school therefore means that both theoretical knowledge and practical activities should be combined, to gain a full appreciation of how things work.