AMRC joins forces with Primary Engineer to encourage engineers of tomorrow

05 November 2018

Sheffield City Region schools are taking part in the nationally recognised Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders’ Awards supported by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) 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 - to inspire children to see themselves as problem-solvers of the future. The Primary Engineer programme develops engineering skills for teachers, brings engineers into the school classroom and offers all UK schools the chance to participate in the “Leaders Award” which is the largest engineering design competition for children of all ages in the country.

In the inaugural year of this partnership, ten primary and four secondary schools from  the Sheffield City Region are taking part in the Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer teacher training programmes where teachers are partnered by 'classroom engineers' provided by the AMRC and trained to deliver an engineering activity with varying levels of complexity relevant to children’s ages and aligned to the national curriculum.

A celebration challenge event involving all of the participating schools 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. Following this first cohort, additional schools will be invited to participate in the programme in subsequent years ensuring that the opportunity to impart engineering knowledge to teachers which has a direct benefit to Sheffield City Region children is increased annually.

The support of the AMRC Training Centre, part of the AMRC Group, is pivotal in the Primary Engineer programme supporting Sheffield City Region schools and will be the venue for a special event on Friday, November 16, when local school children and teachers will be invited into the training centre, along with local councillors and dignitaries, to help launch the programme.

Nikki Jones, Director of the AMRC Training Centre, said the AMRC is leading the way in supporting schools across the Sheffield City Region in the development of engineering skills in the classroom.

“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 from across the Sheffield City Region 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. 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 from the more than 600 schools across the Sheffield City Region.

Daniel Mitchell, STEM leader at Dinnington Community Primary, said the school is thrilled to be involved in the scheme and to show children how they can shape the world of tomorrow as engineers. “The Sheffield City Region is an area that has 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 now in a fun and creative way and inspire the budding engineers of tomorrow.”

To spark pupils’ imagination, engineers from AMRC will visit schools to talk about engineering and their role within it, They will also give examples of how engineers solve problems and ask the question 'If you were an engineer, what would you do?' where the children  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 that submits an entry will have their design assessed by an engineer and receive a certificate.

Shortlisted designs will be judged by a panel of invited engineers and two winners per school age group will be selected. Awards will be presented at the annual prize-giving event hosted at the AMRC followed by a public exhibition of entries from all participating schools. Staff and students from the AMRC will complete the idea-design-build cycle by making a prototype of one or more of the winning designs.

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

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