Outreach event urges school pupils to take the plunge into water treatment
The University of Wolverhampton hosted an outreach event recently to urge school pupils to take the plunge into an engineering career in water treatment.
Civil Engineering staff in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University welcomed 50 pupils from Walsall Studio School to give them an introduction into what they would need to do to become a Water Treatment Engineer.
The ‘Wastewater Treatment in Space’ event was sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the pupils were given an insight into wastewater management and how this is crucial for future space travellers. The practical activity involved turning urine into clean drinking water.
The experiment was based on the distillation process. An artificially prepared urine sample was heated up to boiling point and the pure water derived from it was then collected in a flask demontrating the process of water recycling in space for the pupils.
Dr Julia Zakharova, Lecturer in Water Engineering at the University, said: ““This fun outreach event was designed to spark an interest in the pupils – all of whom were aged 14 and 15 and who are thinking about what their career paths might be. In order to become a water treatment engineer, the pathway to study would be Civil Engineering.
“Whilst there isn’t a national shortage of water engineers, there is a skills gap and the University is well placed to plug this gap. Water engineering is an essential part of the Civil Engineering courses we offer. Our dedicated modules cover hydraulic and fluid mechanics, water resources and supply and water engineering. We organise site visits to wastewater treatment plants and we have good and established links with water companies who are helping us to develop students' skills for their future roles in the water industry.
“How we manage wastewater is going to be crucial in the future as sustainability and climate change becomes increasingly more important to the planet and it was great to see these young people so involved and committed to making a valuable contribution to that in the future.”
Kam Basra, teacher at Walsall Studio School, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for our pupils to become familiar with distillation in a practical way. More importantly for us, it allowed the pupils to acquire practical experience by working in an amazing building with some incredible facilities as our school does not have a chemistry laboratory. The session was both fun and educational and it really engaged our pupils, hopefully making them think about future careers in the industry.”
Lily, Year 10, 15, said: “I enjoyed the practical session very much, as I had never realised that chemical experiments could be that exciting.”
The University offers accredited Civil Engineering and Civil and Transportation Engineering Degree Courses plus a Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship at its £120 million Springfield Campus in Wolverhampton. The new School of Architecture and Built Environment was officially opened recently on the site alongside a new National Brownfield Institute for research. The University also has strong links with national employers including Severn Trent Water and Wessex Water.
Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.
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