27 FEB 2019

Building bridges: The BakerHicks ICE QUEST Scholars welcome day

ICE QUEST Scholar Ryan Southin takes us through the events of this year’s QUEST welcome day.

On 25th February all five current and new BakerHicks ICE QUEST Scholars gathered at Ashorne Hill Management College eager to get stuck into our orientation day. Designed to give us an introduction to BakerHicks and the wider Morgan Sindall Group, the day kicked off with the corporate induction. Managing Director, Martin Lubieniecki, gave us and all new employees from across the company, an overview of the business, its key people, values and visions, plus some of the landmark projects BakerHicks have been involved in.

Following this we were all invited for a buffet lunch. The food was delicious and gave us a great opportunity to speak to senior members of staff as well as other BakerHicks’ graduates and fellow QUEST Scholars in a social and less formal setting.

Quest Welcome Event 2019 29B 1705 X1000

All five current and new ICE QUEST scholars had the opportunity to learn more about the company and the scheme.

The afternoon was the main event for us QUEST Scholars, focusing solely on the QUEST Scholarship Scheme within BakerHicks. We were treated to presentations describing project case studies from a civil and structural perspective from discipline director, Andy Gotts, and associate directors Mark Davies, Mark Renshaw and Steve Perkins. It was really interesting to see the range of projects the company has been working on recently and was even more rewarding to see projects presented which I had been working on during my summer placements. Next up was former QUEST Scholar, now an assistant engineer at BakerHicks, James Brown and myself. We gave short presentations to our fellow Scholars imparting our wisdom on getting the most out of their placements, as well as explaining how the QUEST scheme has helped during our studies and the sort of work they can expect.

The best bit of the day for me was the interactive session. We were split into two teams with two members of staff joining each team and given the challenge of designing and building the strongest 2m span balloon bridge. Armed with just party balloons (which were not blown up!) and sellotape it really got you thinking about how the mechanical properties of these materials would interact with each other, for example using sellotape in areas with high tensile forces. It got very competitive when it came to the testing how many reams of paper our bridges could take! Unfortunately, even with our excellent pre-stressed idea, our bridge was no match for Andy Gotts’ team, who balanced and loaded over four reams of paper on their bridge – which is over 10kg held up by balloons!

Quest Welcome Event 2019 1705 X1000

The teams took on the challenge of designing and building a 2m balloon bridge, some with more success than others!

The day ended with a Q&A session and a brief overview of the ICE Accredited Training Scheme given by Steve Perkins, where he went through what we would have to demonstrate to eventually gain Chartered status with the ICE, which was very eye opening and inspiring.

Overall, the day was a great success, giving us a way of meeting our fellow Scholars plus senior members of staff. The two new Scholars joining us this summer were given a great insight into life at BakerHicks. Despite having lost (not that I’m at all bitter!), my favourite part of the day was definitely constructing the balloon bridge – it was great working as a team to tackle a problem, plus it gave the lungs a good workout!

Ryan Southin