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North East teachers forge links with engineering sector

Every year, Tomorrow’s Engineers Week inspires the next generation of engineers, letting young people know about the career opportunities available within the engineering industry.

In the North East, as part of an event organised by the North East LEP, EngineeringUK, Unipres UK Ltd and STEM Learning, a group of STEM subject teachers were invited behind the scenes at Unipres to gain an insight into the career paths on offer to their students.

Moira Shaftoe, Employer Support Manager (NE) at EngineeringUK said:

It’s great to have Unipres on board as part of the Tomorrow’s Engineers North East employer Network. Tomorrow’s Engineers Week shines a spotlight on engineering careers in a way that young people may have never considered before.

We understand the importance of taking teachers on that journey too, many of whom have limited knowledge about the exciting career opportunities available in the sector. We aim to inform teachers about the routes into and relevance of STEM subjects to those careers and how to maximise the potential of engaging with an employer to help bring the STEM curriculum to life. Participating in the event at Unipres will enable teachers to use the experience to enrich the teaching and learning of STEM subjects in school and contribute to the development of their wider careers strategy.

The teachers attending the event were all from schools which are part of the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks project which is being piloted in the North East. One of the benchmarks of the project, which aims to improve students’ transition from school to work or further study, is encounters between schools and employers and employees.

As well as a behind-the-scenes site tour of the Unipres Sunderland plant, which manufactures steel components used to form the internal structures of cars, the teachers heard from the company’s HR Manager and Apprentice Coordinator, who spoke about routes into a career in engineering or advanced manufacturing.

Rob Dodds, Apprentice Coordinator at Unipres UK Ltd, said:

We’ve been working with Moira as an active partner of the Tomorrow’s Engineers employer network for a couple of years now. We have a strong outreach programme that extends across the region, inspiring young people of all ages about careers in engineering and manufacturing and career opportunities within our business. The event we hosted during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week provided teachers with an opportunity to explore how they can make use of the Unipres resource, and wider network of local employers, by integrating employer engagement into the curriculum.

The day also included a presentation from a teacher who had completed an Insights into Industry placement, and time for attendees to plan how they will use their findings when they return to the classroom.

Chris Bryant, a teacher at the King Edward VI School in Morpeth, said:

This event will help me to build careers learning into the curriculum. Having links with employers makes a big difference to being able to use real world situations, companies and people to allow students a more thorough understanding of their future opportunities.

Moira Shaftoe added: “We want to help make young people aware of the variety of opportunities there are in the engineering sector, especially in the North East which is home to world-leading engineering organisations. We plan to work with more companies in the region, helping to build and nurture relationships between teachers and employers.”

Find out more about Tomorrow’s Engineers