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View from a Coach

Posted: 18th July 2010

The voluntary support of individuals and their companies is essential to the success of the CIC Coaching Scheme. A range of professionals give up their time to support the futures of young people. The dedication and hard work is rewarded by the huge impact and positive influence on the lives of these young and very impressionable adults.
Rob Baldock is a structural engineer and has worked for Ove Arup for 3 years since completing a PhD in the Optimisation of Structures. Rob has worked on a number of projects around the world including airports, cultural centres and tall buildings. This year Rob was a coach at GlobeAcademy in Elephant & Castle.

What was the main reason you decided to take part in the scheme?
I enjoy sharing my passion for the built environment with anyone; young people being the most receptive to this. I hope to inspire them to become the construction industry professionals of the future. It is very rewarding to see them develop their attitudes and thought processes, as well as dispelling any misconceptions common in society.
What did you gain from being a volunteer?

It was a useful exercise in relating to those outside the field, especially trying to leave the three letter acronyms in the design office and ensuring I am explaining things clearly. It also gave an insight as to how young minds work, what they respond to and how to relate to them, as well reinforcing respect for those who teach them on a daily basis.

Were there any areas which you found particularly challenging?
At the end of a school day, attention spans can be short, hence the need for activities and discussions to be engaging and stimulating. Concepts that are engrained into the thinking of a structural engineer (such as need for lateral stability) are not foremost in the minds of the students, forcing me to take a step back and demonstrate such principles in understandable ways.

Were there any aspects which were particularly rewarding?
Seeing the students’ pride in what they had achieved and their interest in what their peers had done, as well as them benefiting from the teamwork that we had encouraged.