As part of the successful Young Engineer of the Year event created by Newcastle-under-Lyme based KMF (Precision Sheet Metal), TRUMPF is sponsoring one of the local Staffordshire schools competing in the 2013/14 challenge. TRUMPF is pairing up with Haywood Academy, a secondary school with academy status for 11 to 16 year-olds which is located in Burslem area of Stoke-on-Trent. Together, the team will design and build a Greenpower racing car.
In early 2012, an internal workforce analysis study at KMF highlighted a potential future loss of vital skills, experience and knowledge due to an ageing workforce and a lack of young individuals coming through as replacements. To be proactive, the management team at KMF decided to engage with local schools to inspire the next generation of future engineers, and following consultation with teachers, the KMF Young Engineer of the Year competition was launched. In total, 16 Staffordshire schools took on the inaugural challenge in 2012/13, to design and manufacture a mechanical clock.
“Our first KMF event was a fantastic success and has inspired us to expand it and increase the level of technical challenge involved,” says Gareth Higgins, Managing Director at KMF. “We now have 18 schools taking part and, without the support of sponsors such as TRUMPF, this would not be happening on such a scale. The sponsors are not just contributing financially, but are mentoring the students by providing support and technical advice as and when required. We are already witnessing increasing interest in engineering and design from the students, and the benefits to both them and the sponsors will be significant.”
Graham Jessop, Technical Support Manager at TRUMPF, and one of the mentors for students at Haywood Academy, is equally enthusiastic: “The Young Engineer of the Year is a great initiative for TRUMPF to sponsor and we are looking forward to assisting and mentoring Haywood Academy students throughout the whole process,” he says. “It’s an exciting project and one that will give schoolchildren the opportunity to be involved in a fantastic venture that will enhance their learning development and hopefully aid their careers. It would be fantastic if it inspires them to consider a future in engineering. Congratulations to KMF for devising and driving forward this proactive project.
The Young Engineer of the Year is a bid to bring hands-on engineering into the classroom. Following a successful first event that saw more than 1,700 students take part, KMF has committed to running the project on the same scale for the foreseeable future. This year, 18 schools have already committed to take part.
The project is aimed at year 10 ‘Design & Technology’ schoolchildren, with up to 24 students representing each school: formulating build and design teams. Once the vehicle is complete, a race will take place as part of the grand final. Each school will then be required to nominate one person they feel should be the KMF Young Engineer of the Year with the overall winner being awarded on the day of the race.
To help nurture vital life skills, students had to apply to be part of their school team. Each student was expected to write a CV, complete an application form and take part in an interview process to highlight the skills and knowledge they can bring to benefit the team’s skillset.
KMF and TRUMPF will support students throughout the project and will arrange days with its own engineers, and Greenpower engineers, where the schoolchildren can work on their cars. The final race day in July 2014 will be held during the week at a major motor circuit. This will help ensure excellent attendance from the schools and local businesses who can witness the amazing vehicles and teamwork evident.
KMF’s Young Engineer of the Year is undertaken in association with Greenpower and the National Apprenticeship Service. It is also supported by North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and HSBC.