Jo Ward, Principle Transport Planner at Waterman in Nottingham, visited school to talk to the year 12 Geographers.

She explained how her job considers questions like how do people get to the places they need to get to, why do we always divert back to cars and how can we design our transport infrastructure to balance the needs of people, the economy and the environment. Jo outlined the various companies and charities that she’s worked for, demonstrating the wealth of knowledge and experience that she’s accumulated. She brought an engineering student from Nottingham Trent University along with her, which gave the group an insight into relevant degree courses for transport planning roles. The students heard how geographers make great engineers as they are well equipped to solve real world problems and how engineering companies are actively seeking to employ more geography graduates.

During the session Jo’s knowledge supported several of the A-Level Geography units, for example the ‘Geography of Health, Changing Places and Globalisation’. She talked through many synoptic links, for example how well-designed transport systems improve both mental and physical health, which reduces the cost of a country’s health service. Another example is social injustice; how it is often cheaper to live in built-up areas, but those who live more remotely generate greater levels of air pollution as they drive into these built-up areas.

Jo gave the group invaluable case study information, for example how countries like the Netherlands and Denmark have better public transport systems as they spend more on transport (around £15 per person per year) than the UK (around £3.50 per person per year). In support of the UK’s transport, she explained how some parts of London have successfully achieved a 73% increase in the number of cyclists in recent years.

The talk finished with a question and answer session. The students asked a range of interesting questions surrounding contemporary issues like HS2, electric cars and school bus passes. Jo was very impressed with the quality of the questions and the clarity with which students articulated their thoughts.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “The Geography Department feel very fortunate to have this link with Waterman and we are delighted that Jo has said that she will return to talk with future groups of Sixth Formers at The Friary.”