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A Summer with Your Closest Strangers

Published on Monday, 03 Nov 2014

- Experience with the Engineering Summer Exploration Program 2014

Not a day we live without air, water and electricity.  Not a day we live without clean air, purified water, and reliable electricity – all made possible for you by genius engineering solutions.  Yet very few people in Hong Kong truly understand the career of engineers or their endeavors for betterment of life.  Engineers may be the closest strangers in your daily life.

An opportunity to uncover the work of these closest strangers came in the past summer, organised by a group of passionate young engineers from the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) President’s Protégés Club (PPC).  With the theme of “Transport the Excellence of Engineering”, the Engineering Summer Exploration Program 2014 introduced the application of new technologies on transportation and the responsibilities of engineers to a selected group of 42 S.3 to S.5 secondary school students.  In addition to technical visits to see behind the scene of the familiar metro, buses and airplanes, the students were led to explore the human factors in design, think through the social conflicts in planning, and had experiential learning with model cars, bridges and walkalong gliders construction.  The Program culminated with the final presentation for which the students were challenged to stage and present, like real consulting engineers, their proposals on "Enhancement of Transportation Services in Hong Kong".  The champion team was St. Stephen’s Girls’ College, who suggested solutions to improve the services of Green Minibuses.

The Program opened a door for the students to appreciate the contributions made by the engineers to the society and offer them an opportunity to reconsider their selection of major for further studies. Like one of the participants, Mr. Himmy Chan from Kwun Tong Government Secondary School, put it – 

“At the beginning, it was joyful to learn that our team was selected to participate in the Program after the interview. In the Program, we went to different attractive Hong Kong's transport facilities including Wong Chuk Hang Station of the South Island Line, KMB Lai Chi Kok Depot, HAECO, etc. I had no idea what engineering is before participating in these fun visits and the educational post-visiting workshops.  Fortunately, there were practitioners introducing the engineering system in their departments and also instructors' tutorial through the workshops. I have a better understanding about engineering, including the different faculties of engineering and works performed by engineers. It was my honor to have been awarded for 'Outstanding performance in the program'. I am grateful to the facilitators as they aroused my interest on engineering and gave me a lot of inspiration on the Hong Kong's transport system. If there is another engineering program in the future, I would definitely join! ”

The positive response from the participants is a great encouragement to the organizer.  Since its establishment in 2010, the HKIE PPC shoulders the responsibility for enhancing the public image of engineers in front of the public.  The origin of PPC is associated with the President’s Protégé Scheme (previously named as the President’s Apprentices Scheme), for which 6 to 10 young engineers were selected as Protégés or Apprentices each year by the President of the HKIE to shadow him and attend different activities.  PPC is the organisation that gathers the alumni from this Scheme to form task forces that continue to promote engineering to the public, support the causes of HKIE, and foster peer learning. 

Building upon the great success of the Engineering Summer Exploration Program 2014 and to echo with this year’s President’s theme on “Inspire the Young”, PPC would present the Engineering Exploration Programme 2015 and further extend the engagement to secondary school students, parents and teachers.  Our engineering professionals, your closest strangers, would lead you to learn about the latest advance technologies and strategic planning in Hong Kong engineering development.  If you would like to learn more about our stories and our upcoming events, stay tuned with our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HKIEPPC.

Written by Ms. Shanshan Wong
The HKIE President’s Protégés Club 

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