FURNESS is embarking on an engineering education scheme that will be the first of its kind in the country.
The Barrow Engineering Project gets fully underway in secondary schools and colleges this September.
The Royal Academy of Engineering selected Barrow as the first area to start a collaborative project with local partners. BEP aims to get more young people experiencing engineering and promote future careers in this sector.
There is a focus on raising students’ awareness of progression routes into local employment, following . There is much concern that about talent is being lost as young people move away from Furness. and talent being lost.
Engineering related activity is expected to play a key role in the regeneration of Furness. BEP will see young people will taking part in activities from the BEST Programme (better engineering, science, technology) through the existing curriculum or as extra curricular activities.
Parts of the BEP are expected to be integrated into some schools’ curriculums through courses like the new diploma in engineering.
The project is going ahead with Alfred Barrow School, Dowdales School, Parkview School, St Bernard’sSchool, Thorncliffe School, and Walney schools School. Barrow Sixth Form College and Furness College are due to deliver the project.
Around 10 per cent of any given school cohort will be involved and The main focus in schools will be on Year 10 and Year 11 students. There will also be a focus on 16 to 19 year olds at the colleges.
Ed Elvish, 14-19 curriculum strategic consultant for Furness, is currently coordinating BEP. Mr Elvish, a former principal of Barrow Sixth Form, says this is a unique opportunity achieved through joint commitment.
He said: “Barrow has been chosen as the first such project following discussions with the North West Regional Development Agency.
“Barrow’s engineering community has been changing from traditional and large scale practices to modern, smaller engineering based activities. It tends to suffer a net loss of young people from the area. The creation of the Barrow Engineering Project is seen as part of an effort to stem this flow and to enrich the attainment and skill levels of the young people involved. The project will be straightforward in making use of existing structures and activities.”
The BEST Programme in Barrow is set to start in the areas of Young Engineers, Smallpeice Trust (CORRECT) and The Engineering Education Scheme.
Students will have the chance to be involved in competitions and clubs and be challenged with creative thinking, problem solving and team design and make tasks.
There is also the opportunity for residential courses at universities and to work with real engineers.
BEP is seeking to partner the University of Cumbria as these programmes develop and then incorporate the Engineering Education and Headstart schemes, which give students the chance to spend a week at a university.
The Royal Academy of Engineering and local partners including Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria Local Authority, The Learning and Skills Council, West Lakes Renaissance and AimHigher have committed more than £100,000 to take the BEP well into two years of its proposed five-year plan.
The Royal Academy is match funding local sums.
BAE Systems and BP are to contribute funds and their expertise.
Local project co-ordinator Brian Wood has just been appointed, to start in September. Link staff in schools and colleges will be identified. as link people. They will thento form a working group, responsible to the Royal Academy and the Furness Area Strategic Management Group.
The strategic management group has local responsibility, among others, forwill developing the local response to the government’s 14-19 White Paper and Implementation Plan over the next 10 years. This group has education, employer, training provider, Learning and Skills Council, Aimhigher and Connexions Service representation on it.
BEP is expected to provide tangible pathways to apprentice, technician and undergraduate learning and employment, enhancing current activities to . It aims to help improve attainment levels, make more young people aware of the valuable contribution engineering makes to our society make more young people and more motivated to take science, engineering and technology related studies.
The aim is also to have more young people gaining employment in engineering.
Barrow already has a Centre of Vocational Excellence in engineering at Furness College and BAE Systems.
Mr Elvish said this is seen as an integral part of a strategy to provide meaningful progression routes to higher levels of attainment in science and engineering and enhanced employment opportunities.