Ford & Primary Engineer partner to inspire engineers of the future

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Ford and Primary Engineer are launching a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative for primary school children in 20 schools across Essex.

The non-profit organisation runs a variety of engineering-based courses for children of primary school age, with the objective to make engineering fun and exciting and to help inspire the next generation of engineers. Primary Engineer links Ford engineers with local schools so they can raise awareness of STEM related professions and support teachers and students in the practical aspects of the courses.

The automotive firm invited 40 teachers from 20 schools to the Ford Dunton Technical Centre to take part in a one-day practical course. The training day enables teachers to deliver a classroom engineering project linked to the students’ curriculum.

During the course, the teachers design and build the vehicles that the children will be engineering throughout the academic year – a model car project for the younger children and an electric-powered vehicle for the older age group. This training day is structured to ensure that both the teachers and engineers fully understand the project aims and can successfully work together to deliver the programme in the classroom. At the end of the school year, the programme will culminate with a celebration event, where all of the schools will showcase their projects and compete for the best designed, built and tested vehicle.

“There is a recognised shortage of engineers across Europe. EngineeringUK have recently stated that the country needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025,” said Linda Carpenter, director of product planning and strategy, based at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre. “Children form ideas about suitable careers from a very young age, and so we need to work with schools to ensure that children of a primary age are given the opportunity to learn more about STEM – and are encouraged to consider a future in the area.”

Chris Rochester, regional director at Primary Engineer, added: “Research shows that one off STEM events have little impact on pupils. This is why the Primary Engineer programme aims to link schools with the engineering world, by training teachers and holding a succession of fun and engaging classroom projects that will both develop skills and motivate primary school children in the area of STEM.I am very excited to see the range of vehicles that the children will create.”

Ford Motor Company Fund is supporting Primary Engineer with a £15,000 grant to execute this programme.