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INSPIRING … Pupils from St Teresa’s with members of the Grundfos team

Grundfos inspires young engineers

ENGINEERS from a Sunderland company have been inspiring schoolchildren while at the same time helping them to enter a prestigious competition.

Three engineers from Castletown-based pump manufacturer Grundfos delivered three sessions for children at St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School in Heaton, Newcastle. The three, Jennifer Parkins, Lewis Thorton and Scott Smith, gave talks about the work they do and how they entered their profession.

The school is entering its pupils into the Primary Engineers’ Leader Award, which has regional and national competitions.

St Teresa’s Deputy Headteacher Kathryn MacKenzie explained: “It’s the third year running that we’ve taken part in the competition and we’re grateful to Grundfos for coming to help us.”

After the talks, the pupils were then challenged to come up with an engineering solution to an everyday problem.

“We work in classes to ask the children ‘if you were an engineer what would you do?’ They are asked to design a product to solve a problem they can think of in everyday life. We also ask them to write a letter to accompany their competition entry. This engages the children in creativity and literacy and we’ve found that they really enjoy the process,” said Kathryn.

“We invite a range of engineers into the school to talk to the children about what they do, and they bring examples of their work into school. The children are always fascinated by the talks and come up with some really great ideas that would solve all sorts of problems,” she added.

Two years ago a St Teresa’s pupil won the regional competition with the idea of a solar-powered medicine bottle top that would keep medicine cool in hot countries.

The Primary Engineers’ Leaders Award is designed to provide an opportunity for pupils to interview engineers about their career paths and motivation, and it has evolved into a creative problem solving, literacy and entrepreneurial project which annually involves over 49,000 pupils.

All entries received are awarded certificates, some will achieve Merits and Distinctions. A panel chooses two great ideas from each year group. These winners are presented with awards as part of a private show and awards day, followed by a public exhibition. Regional winners are then entered into a national competition.

Headteacher at St Teresa’s, Vinny Turner, said: “Each year the school appreciates the opportunity to inspire the potential next generation of budding engineers by welcoming engineers from our community. Our children are always excited by this and we’re delighted by the outcomes.”

Catherine Attwell, HR Director at Grundfos, said: “We were pleased to help and our team enjoyed meeting the children and hopefully inspired some of them to think of a career in engineering.

“As a company we are recruiting more and more apprentices so there’s a benefit to us in getting more involved with schools.”

Grundfos, a Danish company, employs nearly 150 in Sunderland and is the world’s leading pump manufacturer.

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