Primary Engineer have partnered with UWE Bristol to ask pupils between the ages of 3 to 19 years one question,
“If you were an engineer, what would you do?”
From solar powered blankets to a variable light braking system on cars – ideas submitted for the Leaders Award wow UWE engineers. And every year UWE engineers team together to make one of the winning designs. See below the variable light braking system presented to young people at the award ceremony in 2019.
How it works & what does UWE do?
Primary Engineer sets plans in motion to inspire children in answering the challenge. They pair schools with local engineers as well as running weekly live interviews with some of the most inspirational people in engineering (like our fantastic team at UWE).
Then pupils are invited to find a problem, draw, annotate their solution and write an accompanying letter, persuading an engineer to choose their design and build it!
At grading days held on campus -UWE engineers get the opportunity to be stunned by the ideas children in the West of England come up.
A central team then selects two winners from each year group across the region and UWE hosts the public exhibition (save the date – 24th June 2022).
Finally – UWE engineers get invited to pick one of the winning designs to build into a reality.
Want to get involved?
Inspire – would you like to speak to children about how cool engineering is? Get in touch!
Be inspired – want to see some of these ideas in the flesh? You can help out at a grading day (in April) or/and come along to the Awards Ceremony in June. Get in touch to find out more about either event!
Build – would you be interested in making a child’s invention into reality? Let us know!
The Leaders Award is an annual competition which encourages pupils from primary and secondary schools across the UK to look at the world around them and find engineered solutions to common problems. Each year the children’s designs are graded by engineering professionals and the winners for each region are announced and celebrated at regional events.
The Engineering Design and Mathematics Department (EDM) at UWE Bristol have supported the awards and hosted celebration events for schools in the South West for the past four years, but this year the celebrations had to move online.
To make sure everyone could still view and enjoy the children’s designs, Primary Engineer created online virtual galleries for each region.
EDM further support the Awards each year, by bringing the children’s designs to life. UWE student engineers are tasked to build prototypes of the winning designs, which are then showcased at the following year’s celebration event. This year a team of student engineers have been busy bringing an electric blanket design to life!
The solar electric heated blanket was designed by Mary, a local Year 5 pupil who aimed to provide warmth for the homeless. The team of UWE Masters students tasked with building a functional prototype of the blanket include student electronic engineers Oliver Németh, Eimantas Medziunas and Kieran Easdale, and student mechanical engineer Ahmed Nor (aka The Prototeam!).
The challenge was to produce a blanket that would meet the needs of the end user – one that was suitable for outdoor use, durable, portable, low cost, easy to maintain, hygienic and able to provide heat for an appropriate length of time.
An interesting challenge with the technology currently available, and one that the Prototeam worked hard to solve together, using electronic simulations, schematic diagrams and 3D models. From this a prototype was built for testing and analysis, the results of which revealed the design was a success!
Projects such as this have huge potential to inspire the next generation of innovators into a future in engineering. Encouraging children to tackle real-world problems that affect their everyday life helps widen the appeal of engineering to children from a variety of backgrounds, and will hopefully lead to a more diverse workforce in the future.
If you are a current student, alumni or professional and would like to know more about the Leaders Award or other engineering outreach opportunities currently available, please get in touch with the team at email@example.com
UWE Bristol have partnered with Primary Engineer supporting their ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?®’ competition for South West England for the fourth consecutive year. The University’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics Department (EDM) are also supporting the ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics‘ project this year, as part of their new programme of work for the Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (DETI) initiative for the West of England region.
We are thrilled to have UWE Bristol continue as a University partner for ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ and to also fund the ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project’ through DETI. Winning designs from ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ will continue to be developed and built by UWE Bristol engineering students into a full-scale functioning prototypes, giving the school pupils who entered the competition insight into the process behind designing and manufacturing a product as well as seeing their design brought to life.
Chris Rochester, UK Director at Primary Engineer
Primary Engineer Programmes
The Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project begins with a one-day CPD course for primary teachers which enables them to deliver the engineering projects with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils. Teachers are provided with sets of tools, consumables and online resources as part of the fully funded project and will be partnered with engineering professionals from UWE and local businesses to provide a real-world context to the learning.
If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?® asks pupils from early years, primary schools and secondary schools to identify a problem in the world and design a solution to it. Inspired by interviewing engineering professionals from a range of roles, pupils are encouraged to ‘find the engineer they could be’ by designing the future of engineering. Alongside their annotated drawings, pupils write an accompanying letter to persuade the judges to select their design to be one of a number of designs to be built by UWE Bristol.
The DETI Inspire Programme
EDM are leading the Skills Development branch of DETI, establishing an engineering engagement hub for the West of England, based out of their new state-of-the-art School of Engineering building, and delivering three Skills programmes: Inspire, Transform and Innovate. Encouraging diversity and inclusivity, DETI Inspire engages children in primary and secondary education across the West of England, with a focus on disadvantaged areas. Using curriculum-linked engineering outreach and careers support, the programme connects children with real-life, diverse engineering role models via the Diversity Demonstrator, to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.
We are really pleased to partner with Primary Engineer to support our DETI Inspire educational programme. Supporting teachers to engage with STEM activities is so important, as they are critical influences in young children’s lives. There are so many exciting careers available in engineering, and it all starts with children learning that they have the power to make a difference in the world
Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, DETI Inspire Lead
About Primary Engineer
Primary Engineer is an educational not-for-profit organisation that provides a suite of programmes to encourage children from 3 to 19 years to consider STEM and data careers. Primary Engineer inspires children, pupils, parents and teachers through continued professional development, whole class project work, competitions, and engagement with industry professionals to ensure the learning has a context to the wider world.
Primary Engineer promote engineering and data careers and address the diversity and gender imbalance in engineering and data with early years, primary and secondary pupils. Primary Engineer has won accolades over the years including successive Red Rose Award’s for ‘Skills and Training Provider of the year’, Burnley Councils’ Chief Executive’s’ Award for bringing ‘Education and Industry together’ and featured in the Scottish Government’s Manufacturing Future for Scotland and the Engineering Skills Investment Plan. For further information visit www.primaryengineer.com.
Thousands of children across the South West are busy thinking up inventions to answer the question posed by the Leaders Awards free competition:
“If you were an engineer, what would you do?”
The Leaders Award arranges live Q&A sessions with lots of different types of engineers, all to inspire children aged 3 – 19. Then the children decide what problem they want to address, design a solution and enter the competition with a drawing and description.
Thousands of children in the South West will enter the Leaders Award this year, and we need practising engineers to grade the myriad of inventive entries.
South West grading days are being held at UWE Frenchay Campus, in the Business School (3X109) on 5th and 6th of May. They are fun, inspiring days so please sign up to pop along for as little or as long as you like.
Once registered, further details about the day will be sent nearer the time.
UWE Bristol partners with the Leaders Award, an annual children’s engineering competition, to help run the competitions’ masterclass, grading days and celebration events in the South West. Last year Engineering students made a prototype of one of the winning inventions – a car braking systems where the red braking lights vary in intensity according to the pressure applied to the brake. This year, a new team of engineers are making children’s ideas into reality…
Second year mechanical engineering student – Georgina Packham – is heading up the ‘EWB UWE’ team to try and make a ‘Rain Catcher’.
The Rain Catcher was designed by Year 1 student from Headley Park Primary School, Tristan Sta Ines – pictured here.
The design’s purpose is to catch the rain which then turns into clean water. This benefits those who are thirsty helping to keep them healthy.
“We chose the Rain Catcher as we are not aware of any existing products that function in all the same ways that this design does, and we were also instantly drawn to the bright colours of the design. Tristan’s design will not only have little to no negative impact on the environment, but could also benefit those who don’t have easy access to clean water.”
The official launch event for the 2019 edition of the “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” Leaders Award competition from Primary Engineer has taken place to Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.
By asking the question, “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”, the competition encourages school students across the UK to design inventions that solve real problems. UWE Bristol supports the Leaders Award in the Southwest, including hosting grading days at which all entries are graded by engineering professionals. Winning designs from around the country are built by university and industry-led teams, including one from UWE.
You can watch the original Facebook Live broadcast of Primary Engineer director Chris Rochester opening the event, alongside Dr. Susan Scurlock MBE (founder of Primary Engineer) and representatives from the three national sponsors, Gatwick Airport, National Rail and Facebook.
Can you spot our winning build design from this year, Philippa Griffiths’ Red Line Braking System built by our UWE student engineers?
There’s also more about the launch event here from Primary Engineer.
The Leaders Award sets this challenge to encourage children to identify a problem that engineering could solve, and devise a solution. Philippa’s invention was picked as a winning design for the South West, and then selected to be turned into a working prototype by a team of UWE Bristol engineers. Philippa’s design displays variable red lights on the back of a vehicle to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed.
The prototype was unveiled at the South West Leaders Award exhibition at UWE Bristol on Friday 14th June 2019 by Philippa, Katy and Miriam. The prototype, along with this year’s shortlisted entries, was also on display on Saturday 15th June at the University’s Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC). Hundreds of visitors of all ages were able to try it out, as well as taking part in exciting STEM activities provided by the MOD, Aerospace Bristol, and UWE. The displays included having a go with drones, Lego Mindstorm, and a virtual reality tour of the new Engineering Building.
Congratulations to Philippa and the team for designing and creating a fantastic new engineering solution!
The winners of the 2019 Leaders Award gathered at UWE Bristol for the South
West awards ceremony on Friday 14th June.
competition challenged children to answer the question: ‘If you were an
engineer, what would you do?’ by identifying a problem that engineering could
solve, and devising a solution.
From magnet wielding helicopters that tow broken down cars skyward, to
surveillance parrots that alert wildlife trusts to hunters – the children’s
designs tackled a great diversity of problems in modern society.
for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore joined UWE
Bristol Vice-Chancellor Steve West and MOD DE&S Air Marshall Julian Young to
congratulate those who entered the competition. While the competition launches
by using online interviews with real-life engineers to inspire the
children, they all agreed that in the end it’s the children’s designs that inspire
this year, engineers in EDM have been supporting the competition, by grading 4385 entries, and taking part in the
final judging panel. UWE Bristol is the
South West regional supporter alongside Defence Equipment and Support
(DE&S) – the Ministry of Defence’s procurement organisation.
The ceremony finished with a flourish, with student engineers Katy O’Hara
Nash and Miriam Cristofoletti from the EDM WISE
society, presenting the prototype they have made based on the
winning design from last year’s competition. The system, designed by Year 8 pupil
Philippa Griffiths, displays variable red lights on the back of a vehicle to
alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention
Dr Lisa Brodie, Head of Department for Engineering Design and Mathematics said:
“We are always inspired by the children’s designs for the Leaders Awards. This year our female engineering students have gone one step further by actually taking a design, and building a prototype. It shows the passion and ingenuity in our region, both from local children, but also our own students. Through these public events we want to demonstrate our commitment to developing STEM technologies and a highly-skilled workforce which can enhance our future together.”
The prototype, along with this year’s shortlisted entries, were on display on Saturday 15th June at the University’s Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC). Hundreds of visitors of all ages were able to try it out, as well as taking part in exciting STEM activities provided by the MOD, Aerospace Bristol, and UWE. The displays included having a go with drones, Lego Mindstorm, and a virtual reality tour of the new Engineering Building.
UWE Bristol’s Exhibition and Conference Centre, Frenchay Campus
Come and spot which inventions you think will be the tech of the future at the Leaders Award Exhibition day on Saturday 15th June.
You’ll be amazed by the ingenious inventions of local school children who set out to answer the question – “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” Shortlisted regional designs will be on display for the public to explore, alongside science and engineering demonstrations. Stir your curiosity with Lego Mindstorm robots, try out VR goggles, build a city, and have a go with drones.