University of Bradford 16.10.23 (1)

Next generation of engineers inspired by University event ​

Pupils from a host of schools were given an insight into a career in engineering and manufacturing during an event at the University of Bradford.

A special team engineering challenge was staged by the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Digital Technologies. It saw a group of 60 pupils from Year 9 onwards at Bradford district schools take part in the day-long team challenge, held at the University’s STEM Centre.

The event aimed to encourage youngsters to consider a future career in engineering and manufacturing before they start their GCSE studies. They were also able to visit the University of Bradford to see the facilities that it has to offer.

The children were challenged to use Lego Mindstorms, which develops programmable robots based on Lego bricks, and iPads to build and programme their own vehicles to travel around a city scape without any human interaction. They were also given the chance to code their vehicles to react to emergencies and avoid pedestrians.

The pupils formed a company and showed how they worked together as a team. They were also tasked with coming up with a company name, vehicle name and branding for their vehicles. Each team also had to produce a TV advert storyboard, devise a sales strategy and then put on a marketing pitch of up to three minutes in front of the other participating pupils.

They also got the chance to take on roles including design engineer, mechanical engineer and computer scientist.

The participating schools were Woodhouse Grove, Co-op Academy Grange, Buttershaw Business & Enterprise Academy College, The Fountain School and Al Mumin School.

The youngsters were also informed of which subjects at GCSE and post-16 would best support a career in engineering and manufacturing.

The University of Bradford teamed up with the Smallpeice Trust for the event. The educational charity looks to encourage youngsters to take up a career in science and engineering through events and workshops.

Dr Elaine Brown, Reader in Mechanical & Process Engineering at the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering & Digital Technologies, said: “The day was fantastic. The room was buzzing with the energy of the young people learning about engineering and already putting engineering skills into practice.

“Bradford has a rich manufacturing heritage and the University is delighted to help inspire new engineers.

“This type of challenge shows young people that engineering and manufacturing is a very broad sector with loads of opportunities to suit different interests and personalities.”

The event, on 12 October, took place as part of the Faculty of Engineering & Digital Technologies’ link with Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, which runs between 9 and 20 October and is partly sponsored by the University of Bradford.

Over the past six years the event has connected 15,000 students in the region to the manufacturing sector. It is administered by Bradford Chamber of Commerce and the Bradford & Airedale Manufacturing Alliance.