AMRC teams up with Primary Engineer to encourage next-generation talent

2 min read

Some 10 primary and four secondary schools from across the Sheffield City Region are taking part in the nationally recognised Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders’ Awards. Organised by the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the awards are designed to inspire the creative engineering talent of tomorrow.

The AMRC has teamed up with Primary Engineer – a national not-for-profit organisation that is bridging the gap between industry and education by developing engineering skills for teachers – to reach out and enthuse engineers-in-the-making and help children reach their potential.

The schools will have access to the resources and training available at the AMRC to bring engineering to life in the classroom by helping pupils build model cars – from basic ‘apprentice level’ for early years to more advanced ‘engineer’ models for older pupils. Each school will be allocated a ‘classroom engineer’ to support the sessions, and a celebration event will be held at the AMRC where teams from each school will bring along their project entries and compete against fellow Sheffield City Region schools.

To help launch the programme, the AMRC Training Centre will be the backdrop for a special event on 16 November, when local school children and teachers will be invited to the facility, along with local councillors and dignitaries, including the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sheffield Council, Tony Downing.

Nikki Jones, director of the AMRC Training Centre, says: “The AMRC is home to some of the brightest minds and best talent in engineering. It has a solid reputation for world-class advanced manufacturing research and development, which makes us the perfect partner to team up with Primary Engineer. This will give teachers the essential training and resources they need to raise the profile of engineering as a future career path for young people.

“Working in partnership with schools not only helps raise the aspirations of our children by putting engineering at the heart of their learning, it shows them the possibilities of what they can achieve,” she adds. “It also cements our commitment to developing and nurturing the ambitions of future engineers that are needed in order to grow our economy on a local, regional and global scale.”

There is a further opportunity for young people to get creative with engineering through the Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders’ Award competition, which is open to all school-age children across the Sheffield City Region.

‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ This is the question that will be posed to youngsters entering the competition, who will then have to identify a real-world problem, design a solution and write a letter to the engineer saying why they should make it. Every child who submits an entry will have their design assessed by an engineer and receive a certificate. A prototype of the winning design will then be built by the AMRC.

Daniel Mitchell, STEM leader at Dinnington Community Primary, says the school is thrilled to be involved in the scheme, which will show children how they can shape the world of tomorrow as engineers. “The Sheffield City Region is an area with a rich heritage of manufacturing and engineering, and by working together with the AMRC, industry and Primary Engineer, we as teachers can really capture the imaginations of young minds in a fun and creative way, and inspire the budding engineers of tomorrow.”

To spark pupils’ imaginations, engineers will visit schools to talk about their engineering life and give examples of how engineers solve problems. This initiative will help inspire children to find a problem and suggest ways in which it can be solved. Entries are then graded and shortlisted. Their inventions will form part of a public exhibition later in the year.

Dr Susan Scurlock, founder of Primary Engineer, says: “The AMRC is the perfect partner to work with; their cutting edge technologies and training centre will inspire all who come into contact with it. We are very proud to partner with them, and bring innovation and engineering skills into local schools.”