The Year of Engineering is a UK government based program to celebrate the world and wonder of various engineering careers. KBR is supporting the effort to inspire the next generation of engineers and in doing so has partnered with St. John's school near KBR's Leatherhead office.
Through a partnership with the Engineering Design Trust supporting the Year of Engineering, KBR employees are assisting 16-18 year old science students in a project in which they must create a plan to help solve a real world problem. The issue these students have been tasked with describes the need to extract methane gas trapped in Lake Kivu on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where there is an outstanding amount of energy. The problem at hand goes on to describe that the methane alone, if burnt for one year, would generate 100 gigawatts over the whole period. A release of gas from one lake killed 1,700 people in 1984 from gas poisoning and another similar or much larger release could occur at any time.
KBR engineers, including members of KBR's young professional group, are mentoring students with regular visits to give guidance and feedback on how to safely extract these gases effectively without harming any people or wildlife.
A student from St. John’s School participates in the UK Year of Engineering program which allows students to explore engineering careers with help from sponsor companies such as KBR.
St. John's Head of Physics, Dr. Rob Bastin, said, "In partnership with the Engineering Design Trust and KBR, five [students] have worked hard to try to solve the real world problems at Lake Kivu in Africa. The opportunity to work with specialist KBR engineers is a highlight and has helped the students to see themselves as problem solvers of the future."
Students were enthusiastic about applying their classroom knowledge to real world engineering challenges. One student commented that the task gave him an accurate representation of what engineering is like in the real world, precisely what the Year of Engineering campaign is all about.
KBR's Director of Engineering Operations in the UK, Hilary Hill, commented, "KBR is committed to supporting the next generation of engineers and we are supporting local schools, such as St John's, to explore the array of opportunities available to young people pursuing a career in engineering."
The Year of Engineering is a nationwide initiative in the UK and KBR is proud to support and celebrate UK engineering by offering young people the opportunity to come face to face with engineering experiences and role models and positively influence engineering as a career choice.