Blueprint 1000 aims to connect education and industry to close the skills gap. A recent report by the IET suggests that less than half of new engineering recruits have neither the necessary technical or soft skills needed for work within the industry. It is therefore schemes like this that are vital to the industry to ensure future talent is being nurtured from a young age.
Engineering can also help a child to understand real-world technologies and problems which allows them to see how the topic is relevant to their lives and the world around them.
So who exactly are Magway? The company was founded in 2017 by Rupert Cruise, a world-renowned Magnetic motors engineer, and Phill Davies, a business expert. Magway is on a mission to decarbonise deliveries by developing a solution for the movement of goods. The aim is for objects to be delivered safely, efficiently, affordably, and sustainably. This would be achieved through an underground network of tunnels and goods being delivered using electromagnetic motors to drive multiple carriages along the track to their chosen destination.
The selection process for pupils to take part in the 6-week long club involved detailed application forms which mirrored the principles of a job application. The club needed 12 recruits in total and there were some fantastic entries. A variety of questions were asked including relevant skills. One of the chosen applications explains, “I am good at maths, and I can build a working circuit in a couple of minutes and can also name the parts of an iPhone.” Showcasing his technical mind and an analytical approach which are skills necessary to get into engineering.
Another of the other successful applicants “I am a good mathematician and have always been creative with great imagination, I am also good in physics and enjoy learning about science.”
In fact, many of the applications cited creativity as a main skill. When we think about engineering it can make us think of a methodical approach but engineering is also inherently problem-solving. It requires an ability to think outside the box and approach a problem creatively.
The application process was a great way to make students pause and recognise their own skills and how this can then be translated into engineering projects.
One applicant mentioned that “I believe by taking part in this club I will strengthen my problem-solving and experimentation skills and this will help me in applying for a degree in engineering when I go to college.”
The first session took place after school and was led by the extremely knowledgeable and upbeat Anchal Mittal. Josh Clark and Matt Bacarese who work at Magway in the field of engineering.
Session one got underway with an introduction to Magway and the concepts of engineering and how this translates into the workplace. Pupils were given a live demonstration of one of the Magway carriages being released around the track. This caused a great deal of excitement in the room and was a fantastic way to start the session by being able to interactively set the carriage in motion.
Following this the Magway team leaders outlined a group activity. The aim was to replicate the entire delivery process and looking at the full picture from loading, unloading, managing the flow of delivery and reaching the destination safely. Using building blocks and assigned roles which encouraged teamwork and creative thinking.
Primary School teacher and D&T lead Jenna Pickering attended the session and remarks,
“It’s been really interesting to see how the children are fascinated in the different aspects of engineering and the optimism the session generated. The first session was a really good introduction and I am excited to see how things progess.”
The next session delved into programming with Micro:bits with the class learning how to read inputs and control outputs as well as some fun group activities. Further sessions involved bridge building and making race cars.
The final session was attended by Design and Technology CEO Tony Ryan and parents of the young budding engineers who saw the teams race cars finalised and put into action.
We are currently awaiting feedback from pupils but the overall excitement and positivity was clear to see. All children received their certificate of completion of the club and their interest in the subject has been well and truly ignited. These projects pave the way for the engineers of the future.