Alan White Design recently hosted an activity afternoon for high school pupils from across the West of Scotland, in association with the Institute of Civil Engineers. The event was part of Ayrshire College Engineering Department’s regional heat for the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge which sees teams of students applying their engineering and technical knowledge to complete several short missions with LEGO robots.
Associate Director, Euan Strathearn, and Graduate Engineer, Mhairi Boyle, worked with pupils in 1st to 3rd year from 7 local schools, supporting them throughout the challenge, assisted by STEM ambassadors from ICE. The aim of the event was to educate pupils about careers in engineering to address the current skills shortage in the industry, as well as to help them develop teamwork and problem solving skills in a practical environment.
The challenge itself required pupils to design and build a tower, using only straws and Sellotape, which was strong enough to support the weight of a golf ball. Pupils were split into teams, competing as schools, and the winning team was the one that built the highest freestanding tower within the allocated time.
The task engendered problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as helping pupils perform well under time pressure. Euan and Mhairi also took the opportunity to engage with pupils, educating them on the wide range of different careers available within the engineering industry, which studies suggest is a leading factor in ensuring young people enter careers in STEM subjects.
The winning team from Greenwood Academy managed a tower reaching an impressive 1.4m high. Euan and Mhairi also commended the innovation displayed by many pupils, including some which set up supply chain operations to achieve excellent results.
As an engineering consultancy, we work with clients in a variety of different industries. Euan and Mhairi are aware of the broad range of skills which are transferable to work within the engineering industry and were keen to impart this information to pupils as part of our commitment as STEM ambassadors, and our ongoing investment in opportunities for young people.
The event was highly successful, with pupils commenting how much they enjoyed the event, and in particular how much they had learned about opportunities available in engineering. Euan, Associate Director at AWD, said:
“Hosting these types of events is important for us as an employer as it helps us engage with local students and demonstrate the opportunities available for STEM graduates on completion of their courses. Alan White Design also provide work placements for students at local colleges and universities and can provide students with first-hand experience of working in the engineering industry which will equip them well for their future careers. We are committed to addressing the skills shortage in STEM subjects and continuing this work reaps great rewards by attracting more talented pupils from our local area into STEM careers.”
Alan White Design are proud to continue our work as STEM ambassadors and we look forward to hosting many more successful events in future.
For more information about engineering courses available at Ayrshire College visit http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk