Students engineer their own future rollercoaster ride
Youngsters at a North East school looped-the-loop without even leaving the comfort of their classroom in an engineering masterclass on 5 July 2013.
The 120 Year 8 pupils at Rye Hills School in Redcar were each given a turn on a rollercoaster simulator before being asked to create their own rollercoaster design in an event run by Redcar-based manufacturing company ElringKlinger (GB) and education charity Young Enterprise.
Eleven members of staff from ElringKlinger (GB), one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of car parts, spent a day at the school as part of the firm’s mission to engage students in engineering from a young age, in a bid to bridge the engineering sector’s skills gap.
The session saw managing director Ian Malcolm of ElringKlinger (GB), which supplies automotive components to the likes of BMW, Ford, Jaguar Landrover and Bentley, give an introduction to engineering to kick off the day. The students were then split into groups where they took part in some team building activities.
They were then asked to allocate roles of an engineering company within their groups for the main activity. After experiencing the rollercoaster simulator, the young people had to design to a client’s specification drawn up by Young Enterprise, purchase materials and build their own rollercoaster – working with ElringKlinger (GB) employees as mentors.
The day culminated in the students presenting their plans, including a marketing strategy, and their rollercoaster models to a panel of judges who awarded certificates to the top three teams and a prize to the overall winning team after much deliberation.
Rye Hills winning student, Daniel Conaghan said: “I was thrilled that our team scooped first place with our presentation. I acted as managing director of our company, Team Hawkeye, and believe that the reason we were successful was due to a strong team spirit and quick decision-making.
“The day has been really enjoyable and everyone loved the simulator! It’s always fun to do something different in school and the masterclass was also really informative – it’s certainly opened my eyes up to the diverse career opportunities in engineering.”
ElringKlinger (GB) managing director Ian Malcolm said: “The engineering skills gap in young people is a serious and worrying issue both for companies like ours and the wider economy. Those of us who work in the sector know what an exciting career it can be so we are dedicated to communicating that to young people.
“We have worked with a number of other schools in the area, as well as boosting our apprenticeship schemes and introducing undergraduate placements. I hope the event has convinced some young people to consider a career in engineering and see as we have shown today, it can be a really fun environment to work in.”
Young Enterprise manager Denise Chapman concluded: “It’s great that ElringKlinger (GB) took the time and effort to work with the young people at Rye Hills School. It was a really exciting day for the students and we hope it will spark their interest in the world of engineering.”