Tuesday 28th October 2008 by C. Freeman
Six schools from the region attended the launch of the Engineering Education Scheme at Brooke Weston. The scheme aims to get students to tackle real-life engineering problems, come up with a workable solution and present their results to a panel of professionals. The project, which takes around six months from launch to completion, means that each individual student spends around 100 hours on the project and attends a residential at the University of Northampton.
Schools liaise with local businesses who provide an engineer to act as a mentor to the students. The industry professionals first pose a technical difficulty and then give expert advice and guidance during the research and development phase.
Each year up to 1400 students nationally take part in the scheme, which is run by EDT, formerly known as the Engineering Development Trust and 89% of those go on to read engineering or associated scientific or technical degrees at university. Schools from both East Anglia and East Midlands regions attended the launch day where they listened to presentations and accomplished practical tasks.
Nada Johnn, who is the scheme co-ordinator for East Anglia said: 'One of the specific benefits is that students work as a team … they work out that it is not the most important thing to be managing the team; it is equally important being a doer, being a thinker, that each team member has a different role.
'The other important thing for the students is that they visit a company to see what they do. They interact with the engineers; they learn more about what the work is and that can give them a better overview. Although this involves just a relatively small group of students because it's a longer term project it gives a stronger impact on them so it's almost inevitable that they will study engineering. This engages them for six months, it's almost like they get hooked.'
In previous years Brooke Weston students have worked closely with engineers from Corus solving a variety of problems, from running electrical cables up lamp-posts to reclaiming oil from waste metal swarf. This year Sixth Formers Diana Gormley, James Doherty, Edward Lockwood and Ilse Lee are all team members and they will work alongside teachers Mr Barrett and Mrs Dean on the project.