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STEM day hosted by PPMA BEST to encourage next gen engineers

The charity is working with the Museum of Science and Industry, inviting Manchester schools to explore future of robotics

Posted by Charley Rogers | November 04, 2017 | Secondary

PPMA BEST (Business Education, Skills and Training), an independent charitable trust set up to encourage young people to discover the opportunities for a career in the engineering industries, has partnered with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester to host an interactive STEM day on Monday 13th November.

The STEM day, organised by PPMA BEST and national education charity The Smallpeice Trust, and supported by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) and British Automation and Robotics Association (BARA), is designed to excite and inspire young people with a focus on the future of robotics. Schools are invited to attend the free event, targeted at Year 11 students, where they will be encouraged to take part in an engineering task using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 core set and system.

The activity will engage students in an exciting computing, technology, engineering and maths challenge. It will encourage them to build, program and test their solutions based on LEGO® building elements combined with real-world robotics technology. All participating schools will be in with a chance to win one of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 core sets, worth £370, which contains the EV3 Intelligent Brick, a compact and powerful programmable computer and intuitive icon-based programming and data logging software.

Following the workshop, students will be invited to explore the museum’s Robots exhibition and discover recent developments in robotic research. The exhibition includes a unique collection of over 100 robots, from a 17th century dancing wine goblet and animatronic baby, to Maria from the 1927 film classic Metropolis and a news-reading android from Japan.

Speaking about the event, Laura Pickering, Education & Development Coordinator, Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), said: “The MTA strongly believes in inspiring the next generation of engineers, and is proud to be collaborating with BARA and PPMA BEST on this STEM day. We are also committed to closing engineering’s gender gap, so we welcome the fact that the young people taking part in this event will be an equal mix of boys and girls.”

We are committed to closing engineering’s gender gap, so we welcome the fact that the young people taking part in this event will be an equal mix of boys and girls. - Laura Pickering, Education & Development Coordinator, MTA

STEM days are widely acknowledged to support the aim of the National Curriculum and schools’ agenda by linking the curriculum to the wider world and demonstrating the direct relevance of subjects taught in school with the world of work.

Danny Reed of PPMA BEST added: “Partnering with the Museum of Science and Industry presents a unique opportunity for PPMA BEST to work directly with Manchester schools to encourage their students to explore a career in the automation industries. The day is designed to inform students about the future career and education opportunities, while encouraging creative thinking and enterprise skills. The day will also challenge students to exercise their time-management, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. We’re excited to welcome students to the museum to hear from working engineers within the industry and discover a whole host of exciting career opportunities.”

Sally MacDonald, Director of the Museum of Science and Industry, said: “We are committed to inspiring futures and encouraging young people into STEM careers. We are delighted to be working with PPMA BEST, BARA, and MTA on this exciting event which will help young people learn more about the opportunities available in the fascinating world of robotics – and give them the opportunity to see some of the latest advances in robot technology up close in our exhibition.”

PPMA BEST, established in 2014 by the PPMA Group of Associations, aims to encourage young people to enter and develop within the processing, packaging, automation and vision engineering industries. It offers a series of programmes including financial grants for engineering apprenticeships, match funded bursaries for engineering undergraduates and STEM days for secondary schools.

By addressing the ongoing skills shortage and tackling short and longer-term recruitment needs, the charity aims to help the industry and its 500-member companies by growing the pool of next generation engineers through education and training.

The event is also supported by KUKA Robotics, Industrial Cadets, Siemens and Renishaw PLC, with further participating companies to be confirmed. 

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