Scarborough's annual Engineering Week event aimed at encouraging youngsters to consider careers in engineering has just held its most successful event - attracting over 2700 schoolchildren and young students.
Almost 30 organisations - most from the Yorkshire region - put on educational and fun displays about jobs in engineering today. Many exhibits were hands-on and interactive and ranged from touch-screen computer-aided design software, to remote operated vehicles for subsea oil and gas work, robot arms, and even an ingenious piece of food processing automation - a rustic potato cleaning machine developed for a McCain Foods' oven chips TV commercial.
"Great Britain was built on the engineering revolution, and still today it's engineering prowess that is largely defining the growth and success of economies and nations," says Peter Wilkinson from the lead organiser Unison - the Scarborough-based manufacturer of tube bending machines. "As a country, the UK urgently needs to invest in engineering, and attracting more youngsters to enter the profession is critical to that purpose. This event is about just that - we set out to show just how interesting and rewarding engineering is - and it's making a big difference in our region."
Over three days, more than 2700 schoolchildren and teachers - plus many more at evening public sessions - toured the exhibition. Among these was the guest of honour, HRH Prince Richard The Duke of Gloucester, representing Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Richard has a strong technical background, having trained as an architect and worked as a partner in a London practice before taking up Royal and family duties. The Duke identifed wholeheartedly with the ambititons of the event - to attract UK youngsters to become the engineers of tomorrow - and said he'd like to come back next year. As might be expected, he took particular interest in Atlas Ward Structures' exhibit - which demonstrated CAD software the Scarborough-based company uses to design steelwork for world-renowned projects such as The Shard and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Scarborough Engineering Week event was conceived by the directors of the metalworking machinery builder Unison Ltd, and they led the organisation of this year's event. They were aided by the regional education business partnership NYBEP who organised the student attendance from regional primary, secondary, sixth form and further education schools and colleges. The event was made possible by sponsorship from York Potash who want to develop a mine in the Scarborough area to produce potash fertilizer - a very large scale enterprise which could create hundreds of high quality engineering jobs.
Schoolchildren were treated to an array of engineering products and technology from Atlas Ward Structures, Bluebird Vehicles, Castle Employment, Castle Group, Deep Sea Electronics, Dale Power Solutions, Derwent Training Association, F1 in Schools, Fanuc, Festo, Firmac, Forum Subsea Technologies, Hunprenco, Joy Global, McCain Foods, Moog, North Sea Winches, NYBEP, Osprey, Plaxton, Sainsbury's, Schneider Electronic, Unison, University of Hull, University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Wilfrid Scruton, Yorkshire Coast College, and York Potash.
Some 130 representatives from all of the organisations involved in the exhibition, as well as the attending schools and colleges, attended a celebratory dinner during the event at The Spa in Scarborough. Adrian Allen OBE of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre gave the keynote speech.
Scarborough Engineering Week ran from 14-16 October 2013, at The Spa in Scarborough.