21st April 2020

Message from Dr Kevin P Stenson, CEO of The Smallpeice Trust

Dear Friends,

In these challenging and uncertain times, I hope you and your families are all keeping safe and well.

As Chief Executive of The Smallpeice Trust, I am reaching out to you as a valued part of our community.

As we all consciously move 2 metres apart, in true UK style, we are actually all pulling together to support each other, and the wider countries’ needs.

I have never before experienced such a high level of togetherness and unification as I have because of Coronavirus.

Amidst all the bad news there are pockets of good; togetherness is certainly one positive aspect of this pandemic.

One very notable example of togetherness in action is the VentilatorChallengeUK, a consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, that have come together to produce medical ventilators. This consortium includes a number of our brilliant supporters including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce plc, and Siemens.

Another notable example of togetherness is the unique partnership that has sprung up between parents, schools and teachers as they work to maintain students’ education.

We have been contacted by a number of our partner schools who are using their 3-D Printers in support of the national effort to create medical face shields to meet the unpresented demand in the NHS, this is a great example for students of how engineering and technology enable society.

The Smallpeice Trust’s core value of ‘together we can achieve more’ resonates more than ever before.

When we come out on the other side perhaps it will be the time to celebrate the great success of the growing prevalence of engineering excellence in the UK. Hopefully stories like these will serve to inspire and engage more young people into the engineering talent pipeline; a pipeline that continues to show a shortfall of 80,000 engineers per year.

So, what has the Trust been doing over the past few weeks? While our ability to deliver programmes intended to expand this engineering talent pipeline has been temporarily halted, we have been communicating with 14,000 parents and teachers to find out how we can best support them at the current time.

As a result, we have created Engineering@Home, a programme of engineering projects with a new challenge launched each Wednesday via our website and social media, all free of charge. The challenges are all linked to the national curriculum and can be completed using everyday resources found at home.

Speaking as the father of five and eight-year-old daughters, home schooling is very much a reality in the Stenson household, as it is in homes across the UK. Like parents across the UK, I understand and appreciate the value of accessible, at-home projects and activities that enable children to continue learning and having fun with STEM subjects.

Each Engineering@Home project is supported by defined learning outcomes, a short guide sheet and a demonstration video, all designed to take the pressure away from parents and teachers. What’s more, each project is 1 hour long and so can be linked to the British Science Association’s CREST’s Star Award, so students can secure a nationally recognised STEM accreditation after 8 weeks.

Similar to Engineering@Home, we will soon be launching Engineering@School, to support our hard-working teachers with delivering STEM related learning to students still attending school

We hope that despite these unprecedented times, our work will continue to strengthen engineering excellence in the UK whilst alleviating the pressure on teachers and parents; this is wholly consistent with the Trust’s vision of helping an increasing number of young people to acquire life, leadership and engineering skills.

As we navigate through this evolving situation, I would like to close by thanking all our fantastic partners for their continued help and support. We will work through this challenging period and emerge with new skills and approaches to develop the pipeline of future engineering talent for the UK.

Thank you, stay safe and well.


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