UWE Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Mechatronics, Dr Appolinaire Etoundi, recently delivered a fantastic talk for the Association for Science Education, engaging local teachers and STEM educators with the story of his engineering pathway and his research into bio-inspired prosthetic joints for amputees.
Engineers above all else are problem-solvers, and there are a lot of problems these days that we have to face.
In his talk, Appolinaire spoke about his route into engineering and how his passion started at an early age with a love for Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs and the small self-assembly toys found inside. A great reminder that children’s scientific curiosity should be nurtured form an early age!
Appolinaire also shared his career pathway, starting with his study of mechanical engineering and leading to his research combining mechanical engineering and robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. He spoke about a chance meeting with Rio Paralympic Triathlon gold medal winner Andy Lewis, and how this inspired him to change his research focus to robotic rehabilitation devices such as prosthetic joints and limbs.
Currently in the UK there are 5-6000 major limb amputations every year.
This area of Appolinaire’s research is heavily inspired by systems found in nature and these bio-inspired robotics have the potential to greatly improve the efficiency of current rehabilitation/prosthetic devices and improve the lives of people around the world.
Appolinaire’s passion for his research and how it can be of real benefit to people is truly inspiring. You can watch the full talk here:
The DETI Inspire programme recently teamed up with Primary Engineer to provide online teacher CPD sessions for 10 primary schools in the West of England region.
These one-day online sessions supported teachers to deliver a whole class, curriculum mapped engineering project, in this instance, building an electric car.
Primary Engineer supplied all participants with the materials required to run the session, so they were able to follow along in real time and build their own cars with support from their session leader.
Teachers from Ashton Gate Primary, Horfield CEVC Primary, Little Stoke Primary, St Werburghs Primary, Parson Street Primary, Broomhill Junior, St Barnabas Primary, Wellesley Primary, Nova Primary, and Barton Hill Academy all attended the sessions online.
Feedback from the participants was really positive, and we were very pleased to note that the new online delivery method worked well.
Excellent training. Explanation was very thorough and the trainer was incredibly patient and supportive. The resources available and next steps are incredible and allows the school to actively participate in STEM with confidence.
Primary Engineer Electric Car CPD Participant
The DETI Inspire programme will now provide links to industry, giving schools the opportunity to be partnered with a professional engineer from a local company, to support sessions back in school with pupils in the classroom.
Connections with diverse engineers are incredibly important for young children, helping to build their science capital and challenge common stereotypes. This is why the DETI Inspire programme launched their Diversity Demonstrator – a network of diverse engineering role models to champion engineering public engagement in the West of England.
We’re really looking forward to being able to meet our local teachers in person again and support sessions like this together, but it’s great to see activities like this working in a virtual environment too. A silver lining to this lockdown is that online events can sometimes allow more people to access the training and support they need, when they need it.
If you are a school looking for support with your STEM activities, or an engineer who would like to connect with local schools, please contact the DETI Inspire team for information about our current and future outreach opportunities.
We’d like to thank This is Engineering for use of images from their public image library that aims to better represent what engineers and engineering really look like. The feature image for this blog of a young woman using a VR headset is copyright of the Institution of Engineering and Technology & Callum Wood Ford.
Bristol Technology Festival takes place online, 9th – 15th November 2020
Bristol’s Technology Festival was born in 2019 seeking to showcase the sheer breadth of technology that had been developed in the local ecosystem, and share the stories of those entrepreneurs, engineers and creatives behind the technology with the people of the city, and further afield. It seeks to destroy any barriers between technology businesses, their suppliers, educational and charity organisations and the residents of the community that they live and work in.
Events like these are more important now than ever before, with the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changing how we work and live, technologies are playing a crucial role in keeping our communities functional and connected in a time of lockdowns and quarantines.
This year’s festival will be delivered virtually. With a jam packed schedule of workshops, webinars, discussion panels, inspirational talks and networking events, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Themes for this year include diversity, inclusivity and sustainability and the DETI Inspire team from the Engineering Design and Mathematics department at UWE Bristol will be delivering events throughout the week.
Digital Engineering Careers Event, Mon 9th – Fri 13th November
The Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (DETI) Inspire team will be delivering a week-long careers fair for children aged 14+, themed on digital engineering.
The event will be hosted on the Like To Be online platform, where students will have access to inspirational videos from a diverse group of engineering professionals, sharing stories of their engineering journey, exploring the digital tools and technologies they use within their role and discussing how engineering can make a difference to people’s lives and help solve real-world problems.
Alongside these careers talks, students will have the opportunity to explore potential employment and development opportunities on offer from local employers, chat with real-life engineers and ask questions during several live Q&A sessions being held throughout the week, including a session from EDM’s very own Maryam Lamere, Doctoral Researcher and Associate Lecturer, who will be ready to answer questions about her research on the innovative Pee Power project, a technology that converts urine and other types of wastewater into electricity.
Supporting Women and Girls in Engineering, Thursday 12th November
Only 12% of the UK’s engineers are women. Research shows that girls need to see women succeeding in STEM to feel that STEM is a potential career path for them.
Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering. The project pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers.
In turn, junior women undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.
Join us for the launch event of Women Like Me 2020/21! Find out how the project will be running this year and what digital outreach opportunities are available. Network with other women engineers, and listen to inspirational speakers, including Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol and Lead for the DETI Inspire project, and Sarah Behenna from the WISE Campaign. You can sign up to the event here.
If you would like more information on either of these upcoming events, or would like to be involved with similar events in the future, please contact the DETI Inspire team. A full line up of the Bristol Technology Festival events can be found here.
The same great festival, just a little bit different
Bath Digital Festival is happening! Get yourself ready for one of the biggest celebrations of digital and tech in the South West. Make sure to block out your diary and join in the fun from 20th – 24th October 2020.
You might not be able to soak up the sights and smells of our historical and innovative city but, this virtual festival promises a fun-packed online programme for the entire family to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
This year events will focus on recovery, skills and talent. Plus, the festival team will be launching their brand new Digital Skills Exchange programme. So, if you’re looking to sharpen some skills, wondering who’s recruiting at the moment or new to the tech scene, there’s an event for you.
Learn to code, join an interactive workshop on artificial intelligence, discuss the modern ethics, join a masterclass in social media marketing or check out the latest tech. The online programme offers plenty for everyone to take part in and enjoy. View the full line up here.
Staff in the Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM) department here at UWE Bristol have already signed up to several events, and our Skills team for the Digital Engineering Technology Innovation initiative (DETI) are particularly excited about the launch of the Digital Skills Exchange, a programme aiming to tackle the skills and jobs gap in Bath and the South West, by supporting individuals stepping in to a digital career and helping business to find the talent they need.
Careers fairs are traditionally a face-to-face experience, where students can explore the many different stalls of local employers, have a chat and ask any questions they may have. As with most other in-person events, these careers fairs have not been possible during recent months and their absence is being felt by many schools.
Fortunately there are digital platforms available to help schools and their students access these careers events online. The EDM department at UWE Bristol have partnered up with such a platform to offer schools and students in the South West a way to connect with local employers in the engineering industry, as part of their work to inspire the future generation of digital engineers with the Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (DETI) initiative.
Like To Be is a career event network that brings together students, educators, employers and professionals to offer unique digital career experiences.
Their platform allows students to engage directly with employers, watch employee speakers share real-life insight, ask questions and explore potential work opportunities – all online. Employers can share their brand and career opportunities with student members via their profile page or by hosting a careers event.
Using this online platform, the DETI Inspire team within EDM, will be hosting a series of digital engineering career events throughout the academic year, the first of which will take place next month during Bristol Technology Festival 9th-15th November.
The event is aimed at young people aged 16-18 and will explore the role of digital engineering in creating a sustainable future. With access to the event remaining open for the entire week, students will have the opportunity to watch inspiring videos from a variety of engineers, ask questions via a live chat function and explore a wide range of local employer profiles.
If you are an engineering employer or professional and would like to showcase the careers on offer at your place of work, or if you are a school who would like to attend one of our careers events, please get in touch with our project coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect students with science, their teachers and their classmates in this online STEM engagement activity. Taking part is an enjoyable and easy way to get involved in STEM engagement. You’ll develop your communication skills and gain a fresh perspective on your work, all while showing students that science roles can be for them.
Fill in a profile page, answer questions, and use the text-based chat system with school students. Everything happens online; you take part from your desk or smartphone. There’s no need to prepare activities or leave your lab, office or house.
“The format was so much fun to be involved in. The mix of science and career questions, along with those of a rather more off-beat nature, kept it dynamic and enjoyable.” – David, genetics researcher
A fear of failure can put people off iterative trial-and-error disciplines, such as engineering. In the past year, a team of locals have sought to better understand this fear in children, by undertaking research (with evaluation designed by UWE Bristol academics) within Bristol primary schools.
Bristol performer – Kid Carpet – led the “Epic Fail” project, with local engineers and representatives from Bristol young person mental health social movement – Off the Record, run workshops at Victoria Park, May Park and Begbrook primary schools.
Each school residency lasted two weeks and included workshops for Year Five classes in Bridge Building, Fantastic Inventions, Wellbeing, Un-uselessness and Song Writing. As well as some creative ways to capture children’s thoughts about failure.
Bridge building workshops were led by engineer Rachel Kirkwood – a member of UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me engineer mentoring programme. Rachel is featured in the video below, produced to celebrate the Epic Fail project in lieu of the live performances cancelled because of COVID-19.
And be encouraged by one child’s song to “Not give up” in the following short video.
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is tomorrow – 23rd July – and is an opportunity to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.
The theme for this year’s INWED is “Shape the World”, and there are lots of ways you can take part…
You could join in with the online careers fairhosted by LiketoBe, which is focused on Women in Engineering – June 23rd, 10:00 – 15:00
Be inspired by the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing (Confirm Centre) webinar dedicated to finding out why some of their female academics, researchers and industry partners pursued Engineering – 23rd June, 15:00 – 16:00
On 10th June women in UWE’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics department took part in celebrating the million women now working in STEM industries in the UK. They shared photos and stories to inspire other women in engineering. Read more here.
EDM women are pictured above taking part in WISE’s 1 of the million campaign and you can read about some of their career stories below…
Senior Lecturer in Statistics, Narges Dailami tells her story, “I am a senior lecturer in statistics at EDM UWE. I have always loved maths and wanted to pursue a career in it from a young age. I was 18 when I arrived from Persia but I had to spend my time learning English in order to achieve this dream in the UK. After gaining a First in Maths from Sheffield University my passion grew and I completed a Masters in Probability and Statistics then went on to complete my PhD in statistics. I am proud of what I have achieved and although my journey was difficult at times, no amount of adversity or challenges was going to stop me achieving what I set out to do at 18.”
Read about why Head of EDM, Lisa Brodie, recommends engineering to young people.
The closure of schools, colleges & universities combined with self-isolation, cancellation of career fairs and face to face employer engagements is putting even more pressure on young people who are preparing to transition from education into the world of work.
But there’s a digital solution – careers fairs are moving online!
LikeToBe (a digital platform that introduces students to professional networking and career opportunities) is running online career showcases as part of their Transformational Inspirational Career Talks.
Their Career Showcase South West is on 22nd & 23rd June 2020.
Over two days, LikeToBe will host a scheduled series of insightful career talks & presentations by employers and their ambassadors. And in addition to the talks & presentations, the speakers will be available online to answer questions and offer career guidance and advice via the forums.
The focus for both days will be on STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) careers, with particular emphasis on:
Pandemic issues affecting careers – 22nd June 10am – 3pm – “Pandemic Proof” – Protect Your Employability Post Pandemic (including discussion about how the pandemic might change the world of work in various sectors and how students can protect their employability)
Women in Engineering – 23rd June 10am – 3pm – The World of Engineering Wants You!
Student’s sign up!
The online event will be accessible by any student, anywhere and at any time because the content will remain on the LikeToBe platform for up to 12 months. So unlike the traditional career fairs of past, this event will leave a legacy long after the event has taken place.
Students can pre-register for the careers fair by signing up to LikeToBe, in order to:
Understand some of the career possibilities open to them in the world of STEAM
Hear from a number of leading employers about their business and possible roles
Get the chance to raise questions and clarify answers in near real time or later
For a preview of the types of talks that can be expected at the online careers fair, take a look at this recent talk by Patricia Sanchez from Rolls Royce about Transport Travel and Our Planet.
Speaker’s sign up!
LikeToBe are looking for speakers from businesses, universities and other organisations to get involved. If you’d like to offer students valuable insight and real life information on career options and advice, then here’s your chance!
Speakers are asked to create a short video about their career, complete a profile page and be available to answer questions on the career fair days. For more details please contact Antony Jinman (Founder and CEO) at email@example.com or Anouk Spelt at Anouk@liketobe.org.