AMRC IDC takes up the challenge to inspire primary engineers

A photo of IDCMC model

Engineers are in high demand in the UK, yet our children regularly dismiss engineering as a career. Getting primary school children in years two to six excited about engineering may hold the key. Having been less influenced by gender, ethnicity, social advantage or ability at this young age, children are more open to inspiration.

‘Inspiring Primary Engineers’ programme brings engineering role models into each of the year groups of the primary schools taking part. The engineers talk to the children about their role as an engineer and set them real practical engineering challenges to solve. Working in partnership with the teachers, the engineers create lesson plans across a full term which provides the children with the cross-curriculum skills needed to address each engineering challenge in a fun and practical way.

Student engineering ambassadors form cross-functional teams across their year groups, developing vital transferable skills and bringing back their learning to share with their classmates. Teachers from local school networks are also invited to attend coaching sessions and share resources to help expand their STEM curriculum. The activity throughout the year culminates with an engineering fair where a prize cup will be awarded to the class from each year which has demonstrated the best solution to their engineering challenges.

'Inspiring Primary Engineers' programme will help children discover new engineering disciplines and develop skills to solve new problems; whilst boosting the confidence of their teachers and their skills in delivering a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) focused curriculum. It is hoped as a result of the programme, that engineering will become to be seen as a career that is accessible and desirable to many more children as they move into the secondary education setting; boosting secondary subject choices to include more STEM-related subjects.

The engineering role models taking part in the programme come from a wide variety of backgrounds:

  • Civil Engineering – James Kirkham from Mott Macdonald

  • Design Engineering – Claire Jeavons from the AMRC Industrial Doctoral Centre (IDC) in Machining Science

  • Aerospace Engineering – Jamie McGourlay from Rolls-Royce

  • Electrical engineering and renewable energy – Sam Biddleston from the Nuclear AMRC

  • Robotics Engineering – Ian Jeavons from the AMRC IDC

Inspiring Primary Engineers has been designed and developed in partnership with Claire Jeavons from the AMRC IDC and Woodseats Primary School in Sheffield. The activity has been funded by the IET Engineering Education Grant Scheme 2015.

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