Inspiring tomorrow’s engineers

The University of Nottingham has been inspiring the region’s youngsters to embark on a career in one of the world’s most important professions. The University hosted a Science, Technology,...

The University of Nottingham has been inspiring the region’s youngsters to embark on a career in one of the world’s most important professions.

The University hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) themed week as part of ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers Week’. The focused week of outreach events supported the UK government’s promotion of STEM subjects which are seen as critical to the UK’s future prosperity and global competitiveness.

Whilst the sciences, design and technology and maths are all studied at school, many pupils have misconceptions regarding engineering. So, throughout the week, activities were aimed at changing these perceptions among young people, their parents and teachers. The events were designed around recent technological advances and built on the students’ science, mathematics, team work and communication skills.

The week of activities also gave the pupils the chance to benefit from a university style of teaching, which culminated in a visit to the University at the end of the week where they were able to graduate.

The Nottingham STEM themed week was held in association with the IntoUniversity Nottingham East Centre, which is one of three centres in the city established by the University’s fundraising campaign — Impact: The Nottingham Campaign

During the week, a year six class from Walter Halls Primary School in Mapperley, Nottingham, spent the whole week with IntoUniversity, focusing on Higher Education and the theme of Electricity.

Chris Staddon, the University’s Senior Experimental Officer in the Faculty of Science, spent time in the centre explaining how society generates electricity using hands-on wind turbine models.

Chris said: “The applications of Science Technology Engineering and Maths are everywhere in our world and yet up and coming generations seem to have less and less knowledge about their origin, so it is important to show how these subjects affect our lives and are not just boring equations in a classroom.

“Primary school children still have this inquisitive nature and it is an ideal age to capture their imagination and excite them in the wonders of science. I hope that the week of events has given the children a lasting memory of having fun doing science.”

Also during the week, the University joined forces with the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire branch of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) to stage a Mechanical Engineering Grand Challenge.

Teams of GCSE and A level students studying maths and science subjects, took part in Design and Build and Business Challenges, ably mentored by engineers from industry, including Romax Technology’s Software Developer, Kathryn Taylor. Together with current engineering students, Kathryn and her fellow industry mentors helped the teams gain insight into studying and becoming an engineer.

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Through Tomorrow’s Engineers week we demonstrated that engineering is a real and attractive option, which offers careers that are both stimulating and diverse. Students aged 11 to 14 are at a crucial point in their lives, in terms of making choices that will impact on their future career paths, and hence this is a key time to engage.”

Other companies involved in the week included Indigo Verve, Taylor Hobson and Toyota.

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