Shining a light on green job pathways for the next generation

Posted on

Today marks the launch of a new year-long programme that aims to inspire and motivate young people in the West of England to pursue green career pathways. Known as Inspire Sustainability, it is one of three West of England Combined Authority (WECA)-funded initiatives as part of the Green Futures Fund, that, if successful, could be replicated and scaled to meet the region’s Climate Emergency Plan and Net Zero ambition.

This announcement builds on recent WECA support of other green skills initiatives in local schools, with West of England Mayor Dan Norris awarding the first green jobs grant for three schools to develop a special environmental careers programme -read more here.

Inspire Sustainability: in a nutshell

Developed in collaboration with UWE-Bristol’s Science Communication Unit, Cabot Learning Federation, Avon Schools Eco Network and STEM Ambassadors West of England, the programme was developed as part of the initiative for Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Inspire programme. Inspire Sustainability will expand the region’s existing hub of sustainability skills education and training to highlight the region’s leading green skills and expertise in the labour market. Working in partnership, the consortium will deliver three areas of work to three pilot schools; Hans Price Academy in North Somerset, Bristol Brunel Academy in Bristol, and Digitech in South Gloucestershire.  The project includes:

  1. All-school engagement: tailored lessons, talks and careers events with diverse role models, culminating in a whole-school Sustainability Summit.
  2. Eco Council engagement: Eco Action Plan co-development to support the schools achieve Eco School status
  3. Teacher engagement: training so that teachers have the confidence to engage young people on these topics and support them to imagine a future where they can see themselves playing an active role in shaping development.

Once piloted, the outcomes will be shared widely to primary and secondary schools as well as to educational professionals and academics through the consortium’s networks.

West of England Mayor Dan Norris with Year 10 pupils from Orchard School at the Youth Engineering for Environmental Sustainability Summit in October 2021

Building on what works

The Inspire Sustainability approach builds on tried and tested methods explored in DETI Inspire, which has engaged over 7,000 children and young people in the West of England on engineering for sustainability.

Consortium member UWE-Bristol’s Science Communication Unit has a track record of working with and training diverse stakeholders to reach sustainability goals. In 2021, the Unit launched its Climate Action Hub to highlight the existing work of students and academics in this space, as well as to offer support and training to further amplify climate action. Currently it is delivering climate communications training to young people and supporting them to act on things that matter to them. The Youth Climate Communications toolkit will be used to develop the teacher engagement portion of Inspire Sustainability.

Meanwhile, the STEM Ambassador programme will be key to recruiting diverse green role models while Avon Schools Eco Network will use their expertise to support the schools to develop their action plans.

If you are interested to know more about any of this work, please contact project manager Sophie Laggan.


Engaging Children in STEM Through Storytelling

Posted on

After the success of this year’s scientist storytelling program in schools, the DETI Inspire team alongside the West of England STEM Ambassador hub is once again offering the highly requested training session to scientists in the South West.

Training session is taking place on 13th July, 4 – 6pm at UWE’s Frenchay campus.

Once trained, STEM Ambassadors will take specially selected books into schools to read – the books are selected from a collection that features stories with people from minority ethnicity backgrounds, women, and those with a neurodivergent brain having fun with science! These stories, and the real-life scientists reading them enable children to see a more diverse picture of science , helping them to “see themselves” as scientists.

Get Involved

To ensure the continued success of this outreach activity and visit more schools and children, we’re looking for more ambassadors to sign up to the free training session.

If you are already an approved STEM Ambassador, you can view the offer and sign up to the event here:

https://www.stem.org.uk/platform/activity/5e4f397b-df05-4db5-94a2-357bd195851a

If not, you can register interest through the following Eventbrite link:

https://curiousstories.eventbrite.co.uk

We’re running the training as a hybrid event, with Zoom as an option if you can’t make it in, however, we highly recommend you join us face-to-face on the 13th of July  at UWE Bristol.

The session will last approximately 2 hours and will be led by an experienced primary educator (Jane Carter from UWE’s Education unit) who will teach  you how to present fantastic stereotype-challenging stories to children. And you’ll get a chance to have a go! Readings in schools will take place during the new school year (September 2022 onwards) and also during Bristol’s Storytale Festival in October halfterm.

Metro Mayor meets the people behind the West of England’s green tech

Posted on

Metro Mayor Dan Norris met the bright young minds behind some of the West of England’s leading green tech initiatives, during a visit to UWE Bristol’s School of Engineering on Frenchay campus last week.

Mr Norris met some of the skilled young engineers and entrepreneurs behind some of the region’s leading green initiatives as part of the Metro Mayor’s second Jobs and Skills Summit, as well as being given an insight into projects to inspire the region’s future innovators.

The innovative tech on display included drones that measure microplastics in the air, built by award-winning student engineers at UWE Bristol, digitally engineered leak-proof hydrogen storage containers and machines that optimise the growth of the crops people eat.

Some of the programmes are funded through the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation programme, a £5 million initiative from the West of England Combined Authority.

Green Skills

Mr Norris met learners from the Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship (Green Skills) project, a programme designed to upskill learners from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups to help the region achieve its net zero target. 

Green Skills is led by UWE Bristol and delivered in partnership with the Black South West Network and NatWest. It has received £760,000 of funding from the UK’s Government’s Community Renewal Fund and is overseen by the West of England Combined Authority within the region. 

Mr Norris said the demonstration showed the abundance of talent across the West of England and applauded the talented youngsters supporting the region to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and commented:

“I’m so pleased to meet the teams of enthusiastic young people who are pioneering environmentally-friendly technology, boosting the West of England economy and supporting our efforts to reach our net-zero ambitions. It just goes to show how much talent there is in the region, as well as the good, high-quality jobs there are for local people in future-proof sectors such as the green economy, helping us to tackle the climate emergency alongside the jobs crisis.”

Inspiring a Green Future

Special thanks go to Associate Professor Laura Fogg-Rogers who arranged the summit at UWE’s new Engineering building. She also arranged for the mayor to get a preview of the DETI funded We Make our Future planetarium show.

The team from Explorer dome persuaded the Mayor and summit guests to take of their shoes and crawl into the inflatable planetarium for a taster of the engineering sustainability themed show designed to inspire the next generation of engineers. Read more about the show and it’s new funding to go into more schools in the West of England.

Altered from the original post on https://intranet.uwe.ac.uk/whats-happening/news/Article/Metro-Mayor-meets-young-minds-behind-best-of-West-of-England-clean-tech by Anthony Poploski.

Local Schools Take on Sustainable Transport Challenge

Posted on

School children from across the West of England came to UWE Bristol recently to share their sustainable transport designs with engineers and peers over a day full of fun and engaging activities.

Alongside the team from Graphic Science, the students designed in school vehicles that could cross both water and land, travel hundreds of miles, and sustainably achieve this feat. They were then invited to display their vehicles in the Engineering Building at UWE Frenchay Campus where they showed off detailed models and articulated how their journey could be achieved with as minimal waste as possible.

Students showing off their sustainable transport design.

After presenting their designs to their peers and members of the Engineering department at UWE, Students enjoyed an inspiring talk from a member of the Bristol Gulls team, Sarah Hunt, who rowed 3000 miles across the Atlantic in an Eco Ocean rowing boat built to have minimal impact on the environment. This was particularly popular with the children as they could see a real-life example of what they designed themselves, ask plenty of questions, and watch their teachers try the dehydrated curry and rice pudding enjoyed by the Gulls during their 47-day journey!

Additional events included an immersive mobile-planetarium show, “Engineering Our Future” made in collaboration with Explorer Dome, a sustainability tour of the award-winning Engineering building by the UWE Frenchay groundskeeper, and a Minecraft sustainable transport challenge led by the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Inspire team, tasking students to digitally engineer new ways to cross the Bristol Harbour in a scale recreation of the S.S. Great Britain area.”

Family Fun day at UWE’s Engineering!

Posted on

Tickets are going fast for UWE’s family fun day – taking place on Saturday 25th June in the brand new Engineering building on UWE’s Frenchay campus.

Get your free tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leaders-award-family-fun-day-tickets-344241203707

Running: 10am – 4:30pm

We’ll have lots of exciting activities for the whole family – all the best local science-y activities in one place – robots, Minecraft & an amazing FREE planetarium show!

UWE is bringing all this together to celebrate the amazing inventions children in the South-West designed for the Leaders Award competition – with shortlisted entries on display alongside the robots, music technology, crafty activities, eco-house activity and did I mention a FREE planetarium show?!

Book tickets to the Engineering Professors Council congress this June at UWE

Posted on

The Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) is the voice of engineering academics, and are holding their face-to-face annual congress at UWE Bristol on 7 -9th June.

A Better World is the theme for the event, with a focus on ethics, sustainability and recovery. The congress features Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (following Grenfell); Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UKRI; Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Exec of the Royal Academy of Engineering; and Prof Steve West, President of Universities UK. Plus a host of expert speakers, dinner on the SS Great Britain and a UWE welcome to the cutting-edge Bristol Robotics Lab and brand new curriculum-led UWE Engineering building.

The full line up is below, and more details can be found on the EPC Annual Congress 2022: A Better World website.

The EPC represents engineering academics (at all levels) in higher education, and all academics at EPC member institutions are welcome to attend the meeting.

Bookings are open now via the UWE store. Paying via the online store is the easiest and quickest way to register for the event.

Tuesday 7th June

  • 14:00-15:00: Registration: Engineering building
  • 15:00-17:00: Tour: Engineering building and Bristol Robotics Laboratory
  • 18:30-19:30: Public Lecture:Dame Judith Hackitt 
  • 19:30-20:15: Drinks reception: Students’ Union
  • 20:15-onwards: BBQ and Morris Dancing: Students’ Union

Wednesday 8th June

  • 09:00: Registration: Engineering Building
  • 09:45: Welcome
  • 09:55: Guest speaker: The Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP
  • 10:15: Panel: Sustainability
  • 11:15: Panel: A new kind of student
  • 12:15: Panel: Designing a curriculum for sustainability
  • 13:15: Lunch
  • 14:15 Panel: Engineering Ethics: a toolkit
  • 15:30 Panel: Emerging greener
  • 16:15EPC online launch
  • 19:00: Congress Dinner, SS Great Britain.
  • 19:15: EPC President Prize: Hayaatun Sillem CBE
  • 21:00: After dinner speaker: Simon Fanshawe
  • 22:00: Hammermen Award

Thursday 9th June

  • 09:15: AGM
  • 10:00: Keynote: Working with industry for a better world: Ottoline Leyser
  • 10:40: Panel: Working with industry for a better world
  • 11:40: Panel: Accreditation for a better world
  • 12:30: Keynote: looking to the future: Prof Steve West 
  • 13:00: Close
  • 13:15: Lunch

UWE Bristol School of Engineering wins two Royal Institute of British Architects Regional Awards

Posted on

The School of Engineering building on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus was recently awarded both the RIBA South West Award 2022 and the RIBA South West Project Architect of the Year Award 2022 for Hira Silverthorne-Teirney.

The brief called for interaction between departments and spaces which promoted collaboration between students, staff and visitors in order to more closely reflect how modern engineering, research and problem-solving are tackled in industry.

Planning and design work on the new building was carried out in tandem with a renewal of the university’s engineering curriculum, drawn up in collaboration with industry to ensure engineering graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, and promoting diversity within the School’s engineering intake.

These latest RIBA awards follow previous success for the state-of-the-art building, including being named Project of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards in 2021, where judges praised the building’s intelligent and sustainable design.

The layout reflects the pedagogical and philosophical drivers, including broadening access to engineering and promoting inclusivity.

You can read the full article with RIBA here.

Staff, students and guests at the official opening event in Nov 2021

UWE Engineering inspires local children to redesign our world

Posted on

The Engineering Outreach team at UWE Bristol are sending engaging role models, alongside a fully immersive planetarium show, into schools to inspire local children to think creatively – like an engineer – and design a sustainable future for our planet.

The “We Make Our Future” show was developed in collaboration with the science entertainment wizards from Explorer Dome, the Bristol-based mobile planetarium company, and funded initially by the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) initiative. Today new support for the educational show has been announced by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grant scheme – Ingenious.

This funding will allow Explorer Dome to take the show to 4000 more children in the West of England. As well as enabling the team to incorporate videos from local engineers, to showcase the breadth of people in engineering and inspire the diverse and socially conscious engineers of tomorrow. 

“There are so many inspiring engineers and careers in the West of England and we’ve been celebrating this diversity with our Engineering Curiosity card set as part of our DETI Inspire work,” said UWE Bristol’s project lead, Associate Professor Laura Fogg-Rogers.

“We’re now really excited to bring their stories to the big screen – inside a huge inflatable dome with surround sound to inspire the engineers of the future!”

We Make Our Future

The 360° digital projections in the mobile planetariums take children on a journey – exploring the history of human ingenuity, from the Stone Age to the Space Age, then pivoting to focus on humanity’s current big challenge – tackling climate change.

Reducing our carbon emissions means redesigning nearly everything we use in the modern world – a vast job that requires lots of imagination and a whole myriad of skills and techniques. And whilst the West of England is a hotbed for engineering, there is a shortfall of skills in the workforce.

This initiative looks to address the skills shortfall of the future by encouraging young people to see themselves as engineers. Role models are key to children envisioning themselves in future careers, which is why including diverse engineers is crucial.

“We were honoured to showcase our dome experience at COP26, and it was clear that seeing real-life engineers tackling these big problems was inspirational to audiences,” said Explorer Dome Director and Senior Presenter, Joshua Yates. “That’s why we want to hear from diverse engineers making a difference and support them to tell their stories to young people across the West”.  

In the next few months, the team at UWE Bristol and Explorer Dome will be recruiting local engineers and training them to engage young people, then selecting five engineers to make inspiring films in their workplaces. Training will enhance the engineers’ ability to communicate sustainability solutions in a positive way – something which is hugely important to change attitudes and behaviours towards climate action.

Films of sustainability engineers at their workplaces will showcase how the engineering design process can address the Climate and Ecological Emergency. All adding to the show’s ability to light up the imaginations of the next generation as it travels throughout the region.

If you’re a local engineer with a sustainability focus – please do get in touch to get involved with our training – louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk

Additional information

The show was first presented to the public at the COP26 Planetarium in November 2021 and has now visited several schools in the region. The Ingenious bid enhances the legacy of the show, by enabling Explorer Dome to physically visit 10 schools, along with 10 Zoom shows, reaching around 4000 children aged 8 –13 years from across the West of England in total. All with no charge to the schools or children’s families.

Diversity in the engineering workforce is very low, therefore this project will target underrepresented populations many of which can be found in areas and schools within the top 25% most deprived neighbourhoods of the West of England.

UWE Engineering

You can find out more about UWE Engineering and the activities of the Outreach team on the UWE Engineering our Future website.

Explorer Dome

Explorer Dome is an internationally known, vibrant, popular science outreach organisation.
Based in Bristol, Birmingham and London, we travel across the UK presenting live science shows for schools, festivals and special events. Hands-on demonstrations and stunning visuals combined with knowledgeable, enthusiastic and professional presenters: Explorer Dome is presenter-led, lively, interactive and fun!

Royal Academy of Engineering – Ingenious: public engagement awards

Ingenious is an awards scheme for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering while providing engineers with skills and opportunities in public engagement.

They prioritise projects that reach diverse and underrepresented audiences including communities in the most deprived neighbourhoods in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and that engage with engineers and people of different genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds.

DETI

DETI is funded by the West of England Combined Authority; it is transforming engineering for the digital era and inspiring the next generation of engineers. It is helping identify the technologies that will drive innovation in developing sustainable products, systems, businesses, infrastructure and transport that underpin a net zero environment. It is creating a new, diverse engineering community and systems to investigate, develop & demonstrate the advanced digital technologies and skills needed for the sustainable products of the future.

Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the National Composites Centre (NCC) in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS), Digital Catapult, the University of the West of England (UWE), the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. WECA funding of £5m is match funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

UWE staff & students win prizes at ethnic minority engineering conference

Posted on

The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers – AFBE live – held their first annual conference in April, sending happy UWE staff and students home with some sparkling trophies.

Halimah’s trophy

The conference was held at IET savoy place, London, and UWE Research Fellow, Halimah Abdullahi, was runner up in the Next Big Idea Competition – Covid and Diversity & Inclusion category – for her presentation on UWE investigations on how to make engineering inclusive for everyone. This work was part of the Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (DETI) Skills project.

Halimah described the conference as “mind blowing” and “the best event I have attended”. 

There was also success for UWE students Namlan Oulai Siaba and Moataz Hassan, who came 3rd and 4th place respectively in the Tech Innovation category.

The conference was also attended by UWE’s Associate Professor in Assistive Robotics, Virginia Ruiz Garate, who represented UWE at the speed networking event. And Lecturer in Systems Engineering, Amina Hamoud sat on the judging panel for the Next Big Idea Competition.

More about the conference

The conference theme was “The Future of Engineering: Sustainability, Innovation and Diversity”, and 537 people turned up to listen from a host of great speakers, and participate in the many networking opportunities and competitions.

The keynote speakers were Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UK Research, and Innovation (UKRI) and Chris Knibb, Head of Corporate Communications, IET. With Chi Onwurah urging everyone to consider getting involved with policy as a way of using engineering expertise and thinking to benefit the society.

Co-founders of AFBE-UK, Dr Nike Folayan and Dr Ollie Folayan, delivered speeches on the background and growth of AFBE. Other speakers included Mark Martin MBE, co-founder of UK BlackTech; Janice Mair, director of people, culture and diversity at EnQuest; Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, public speaker and political commentator; former NBA star John Amaechi OBE, CEO of APS Intelligence and best-selling New York Times author; Shereen Daniels, managing director of anti-racism and racial equity advisory firm, HR rewired; and Ortis Deley, host of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show.

.

Local school pupils digitally re-engineer Brunel’s famous designs, before exploring the real thing!

Posted on

Over 150 children and counting from schools across the West have enjoyed a long-overdue trip to the School of Engineering and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

In partnership with the Clevedon Learning Trust, the DETI Inspire team have invited local children to the School of Engineering at UWE Bristol, to dive into some digital engineering with their West In Minecraft STEM workshops. The hugely popular and in-person workshop allows the children to learn what it means to be an engineer, explore the Engineering Design Process, and jump into a unique digital model of the West in the popular block-building game Minecraft. They can design new engineering solutions to real world problems, through building, creating and inventing using the game that many are already familiar with.

The West in Minecraft world includes Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the workshop also allows the pupils to re-engineer it. The DETI Inspire team saw many creative and genius modifications to Brunel’s designs, including huge wind turbines, solar panels, water slides, rail lines, elevators, hanging gardens, cafes, and many more.

After joining the team in the Prototype and Play lab at the School of Engineering, the students then continued their school trip to Clifton to visit the real bridge! They were able to explore the hidden vaults under the bridge, and learn all about Brunel and the other engineers that played a part in designing the incredible engineering feat. Linking digital engineering to the physical world.

The iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in DETI Inspire’s ‘The West in Minecraft’

Mark Davies of the Clevedon Learning Trust said; “Clevedon Learning Trust have been extremely grateful to DETI Inspire and the team of engineering ambassadors for hosting 12 different primary school groups with children aged between years 4 and 6. The children have had a great time with the STEM sessions.”

“The use of Minecraft has really engaged our children in an activity they are both familiar with and enjoy. This has helped to raise their awareness, understanding and interest in engineering and the possibilities it brings. To be able to link this with a visit to the Clifton Suspension Bridge has brought engineering to life and allowed children to use the STEM achievements of our past to potentially encourage aspirations for their future.”

To learn more about the DETI Inspire workshops including other available activities and sessions, or to book a session for your school, visit https://www.digitaltrailblazers.net/resources; or contact the team at engineeringourfuture

The West in Minecraft and subsequent worlds are developed with the support of Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, and Science Hunters through Building to Break Barriers (funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant).

Back to top