Highways England held its first school open day in a bid to inspire more children and young people to pursue a career in the transport industry.
Pupils from St Werburgh’s Primary School joined traffic officers, engineers, and managers at the company’s regional operations centre (ROC) in Avonmouth.
The day began with an introduction by David Sadler, one of the team managers at the ROC.
David explained the role of Highways England in maintaining roads, monitoring traffic and keeping motorists safe, before giving some of the children a chance to practice reporting an incident using walkie-talkies.
He also explained the skills that were needed to be a traffic officer, including being a good listener, excellent communication skills, and the ability to multitask.
David said: “The main reason young people aren’t applying for jobs in the transport sector is a lack of understanding, but the job is hugely important. We help maintain public safety and work really closely with the emergency services. By responding to minor traffic incidents, collisions, and breakdowns, we reduce the burden on the police and the ambulance service.”
He added: “It’s a great place to work. You never know what’s going to happen – no two days are the same”
The students then joined Chris Batten, team manager, in the ROC’s control room. Chris showed them how the motorway cameras are controlled and angled using a joystick – and even let them have a go. He also let them work the screen wipers.
Chris said: “All our cameras are fitted with wipers, because it’s important that we’re able to keep the rain off the screens. Plus, they’re good for getting rid of the spiders!”
The children also took part in a skills workshop and were given a talk about career options at Highways England.
Helen Faulkner, deputy headteacher at St Werburgh’s Primary School, said: “The children really enjoyed the visit and found it very inspiring. As well as giving them ideas about what they might like to do in their future careers, it has helped them understand the type of skills employers are looking for.”
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