Pioneering initiative developed by North-East sixth form college

Pioneering initiative developed by North-East sixth form college

13th October 2015


THE next generation of top engineers are being honed to meet a global skills shortage in a pioneering initiative by a North-East sixth form college.

A Level students at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington, are developing their expertise in the classroom, work place and race track thanks to the Future Engineers Scheme.

The innovative programme is designed to nurture high quality students to help employers meet the huge demand for top-flight engineers.

Students studying A Levels in maths and science subjects see their academic programme complemented by regular trips to industry and universities, placements and access to mentors and specialist advice.

QE students are also encouraged to take part in projects and competitions and could find themselves designing and building a Green Power electric car to compete at Croft Circuit and other race tracks across the country.

The college’s efforts were recognised by the Association of Colleges, which commended QE in the annual Beacon Awards.

Future Engineer co-ordinator Elizabeth Bryan said: “Engineering UK has highlighted the need to double the number of annual recruits into engineering by 2020 to meet expected demand and the North-East itself is facing a huge skills gap.

“As a 6th form college, with bright young people studying STEM related subjects,
we want to connect our students’ learning with vocational experience and the opportunity to become aware of the wide range of careers within the industry.”

Students Esther Farnell, Jasper Bruce-Wright and Anna Farquhar have their sights set firmly on engineering careers.

Esther, 18, of Darlington, who has just gone to Sheffield University, said: “I’m looking forward to taking a degree in mechanical engineering so I can apply further what I have learnt at college.”

Japser, 17, of Darlington, added: “Engineering is incredibly varied so you can keep your options open and it means there will always be great career opportunities out there for us.”

Anna, 17, of Darlington, is looking at a career in civil engineering. She said: “I have always been interested in buildings and architecture. I would love to travel and civil engineering companies work on projects all over the world.”

All three students have enjoyed their time at QE because of the support they have received from tutors, the opportunities the college’s approach produces and the fact their studies are in a college setting outside the school environment.

Mrs Bryan added: “Students also enjoy the benefits of the college working so closely with the region’s best companies and the networking opportunities this provides.

“Building the race car tests their academic and practical skills but also helps develop other strengths, such as leadership, confidence, team work and communications. They get an insight into the diversity of engineering, whether it is for Formula One, aeronautics or sub-sea, with amazing opportunities in the North-East, the UK and the rest of the world.”

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