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Safeguarding the future of the South West's engineering and manufacturing

Safeguarding the future of the South West's engineering and manufacturing

Pipex px® are extremely proud to announce our enrollment onto the ‘Futureworks’ programme, a new initiative specifically aimed at targeting the many misconceptions that exist around science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.   These subjects are absolutely vital to the continuing success and growth of both engineering and manufacturing in the South West and yet studies have shown worrying trends of thought from the next generation;

  • Half of 7-11 year olds believe that being an engineer would be “boring”
  • STEM studies are viewed as “nerdy” or “geeky”
  • Engineering is seen as a male dominated industry
  • Engineering is frequently associated with boiler repair men & mechanics

One worrying statistic is that woman currently make up only 6% of the U.K.’s qualified engineers and this can be attributed to some extent to misconceptions from an early age. 

Transforming young people’s perceptions of these industries requires a fresh approach.  Teachers can often be fundamental in a student’s final subject choice, therefore ensuring these professionals are equipped with an accurate knowledge and understanding of the careers opportunities available to students is crucial.

The ‘Futureworks’ scheme addresses this by establishing “twinning” agreements between local companies and secondary schools, creating a “special relationship” between education and industry. A teacher or careers advisor is then invited to participate in a week’s work experience at their twinned company with the aim of demonstrating what manufacturing and engineering is REALLY all about in the 21st century.

Abi Hunns Work Experience Pipex px®               The first company to host a placement was Pipex px®.  In February, Abi Hunns, a design technology teacher at our partner school Notre Dame, joined staff across numerous departments for an eye-opening, hands-on experience of our manufacturing process, problem solving and design.

Following her visit Abi commented;     

“My week at Pipex dispelled a lot of my own misconceptions of the manufacturing and engineering sector….It has enabled me to take a vast range of projects and bring them to life in the classroom as well as providing practical knowledge that I can apply to lessons and enhance my teaching.  I’m now better equipped to provide career advice.  It has been a great experience”

The Plymouth Manufacturing Group (PMG), chaired by Pipex px® VP of Sales & marketing Mr Bill Murphy, is the organisation responsible for delivering ‘Futureworks’ across Plymouth. The project, which will run until May 2017, is a £250,000 project funded by the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal. 

On 23rd March 2016 the scheme was officially launched at Pipex px® headquarters by Council Leader Tudor Evans following the hosting of a “lunch and learn” event and facility tour for ten Notre Dame School pupils, Abi Hunns and the PMG secretary Steve Gerry.

                   Notre Dame Pupils visit Pipex px®

Keep an eye on our news section to read regular updates on this exciting venture!

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