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10th March 2022

Be a positive role model to inspire engineers of the future

Engineers from companies across the West Midlands are being asked to sign up to help develop and deliver a new project for primary schools, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Education charity, The Smallpeice Trust and Birmingham Museums Trust are working together on the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious ‘Mini Pioneers’ project to excite children across Birmingham about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM). 40 engineers will receive training on outreach to primary students and help inspire the talent of the future. Engineers will be given opportunities to co-create the school STEM activity, be part of the delivery team for the activity and take part in a celebration of engineering at Birmingham Science Museum’s Thinktank.

Research by the IET shows that three quarters of children are aware that engineers build things, whilst two thirds believe that they fix things. Slightly fewer think that they design or invent things, with less than half saying that engineers test things. The more in-depth research suggests that for students on the surface the term engineering is still typically seen as being about maintenance and repairs, and girls seem to engage still less than boys because of this association.

The research demonstrates the importance of STEM outreach projects, as for those who can make the connection with STEM, perceptions are far more positive. It shows that we need to help them recognise that engineering is deeply connected with STEM subjects that many of them enjoy and find interesting.

Volunteering to be part of the Mini Pioneers project will require a commitment of around two days for each engineer, to allow time for training and to support at least one delivery activity. This project offers a range of benefits to the engineer and their employer:

  • Developing communications and outreach skills
  • Raising the profile of the company among local young people
  • Delivering social value or CSR activity with volunteering time
  • Supporting continuous professional development
  • Providing opportunities to network with other local engineers

Interested individuals or companies should email Neil Noble at The Smallpeice Trust – volunteer@smallpeicetrust.org.uk. A training day will take place on 29th of April at the Thinktank with outreach activities taking place through to the summer of 2022.

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