Inspiring the next generation of Engineers with In2ambition in Warwickshire schools
One of my aims at Uptime Consultant is to inspire the next generation of engineers, especially in manufacturing and production engineering. I think it should be a part of all businesses to give back some time to inspire and inform the next generation.
The choices for school leavers are vast compared to when I started my apprenticeship and they need information and guidance so they can make an informed decision. I find it also helps the teaching staff as this is a learning experience for them also; many haven't come into contact with industry practitioners so they can also gain.
As a Coventry and Warwickshire STEM Ambassador I have presented in a few Warwickshire schools usually to students in their final years considering university or vocational education paths. I have also started supporting an organisation called In2ambition a Warwickshire based business that supports teachers and school leavers making these important decisions.
I have developed a 20 minute presentation that can run as long as the students have questions as far as I'm concerned! The initial part lays out my own experience to a career in engineering followed by the big question of Why? This provokes a lot of questions so the students can really find out more on how and where to enter the industry.
Before that gets too boring I move on to the Thermography part where I have chosen a sphere that they may have already covered in the curriculum, some of them even remember it! This leads to discussions about TI applications and most importantly some hands on with a Thermal Imager to show some examples.
Most of the students get something from these sessions even if they have decided on other career options or have decided to enter the university system.
One of the main points I try to put across is that they are at the start of a journey where their future will change faster than my past and to be ready to adapt to that. My experience also shows that Engineering is all encompassing as we talk about the spheres that are touched by engineering. I use my history to show how I moved from an apprenticeship in Mechanical Production Engineering in Aerospace to Sub Contract Machining, Motorsport manufacturer the Food Industry and founding Uptime Consultant Limited as an Production Productivity Engineer.
I enjoy these STEM sessions because I always learn something about myself and the students and how they see the world.
An great example happened at the end of a session last week when a couple of students stayed back chatting about their career plans. One of them noticed a high pitched background noise, I asked them what they thought it was? One said it may be the light unit above our heads the other said it sounded like it was coming from the window. With a little help I suggested checking out the radiator under the window; by adjusting the thermostatic valve the noise disappeared. I said that was an example of basic Condition Monitoring, hearing something unusual and then finding a solution. She reacted by turning to her school friend exclaiming "future Engineer". Priceless!
I left feeling very positive about our future engineers.
If you are considering helping with STEM I would advise contacting your local STEM group.