On Tuesday 13th September, Engineers across the West of England gathered at UWE Bristol to glean insights into how to ‘Inspire young people in Engineering’.
The 20 diverse engineers were led through the “how to” of engaging & inspiring children by the science communication experts from local Bristol planetarium company, Explorer Dome.
Explorer Dome have been travelling throughout the country for over 20 years, providing children with a science experience inside their awe-inspiring inflatable planetariums. They drew on this wealth of experience at the training session, to guide the engineers through the basics, with plenty of examples and opportunities for the engineers to ‘have a go’.
Attendees reported an overall increase in confidence in delivering engineering outreach to children and said the following:
“Great top tips! [I have a] better idea of how to interact and communicate science with children.”
“Presenters know what they’re doing! Inspiring and I hope I can be a good communicator like them someday.”
“Really helpful content and activities.”
With more diverse representation recognised as an important factor to increase the numbers and diversity of engineers joining the workforce, it was great to have so many female engineers present (13 out of 20 attendees), as well as engineers from range of ethnic backgrounds. Thanks to everyone who joined us and we wish you the best with your school outreach!
What’s next to inspire the next generation of engineers?
This training was funded as part of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grant scheme – Ingenious – secured by UWE. This Ingenious funding will also be used to extend the impact of Explorer Dome’s ‘We Make Our Future’ show – a show all about engineering a sustainable future.
The show was was originally developed in 2021 as a collaboration between Explorer Dome and UWE Engineering’s outreach team, with initial funding from the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) initiative. Now Ingenious funds are enabling the team to take ‘We Make our Future’ into schools in areas of socioeconomic deprivation in the West of England.
The team is also extending some of the content of the show – adding in videos from local engineers, to showcase the breadth of people in engineering and inspire the diverse and socially conscious engineers of tomorrow.
Some of the engineers seen at training this month, may well become those inspirational role models showcased inside the planetarium in the coming months!
You can find out more about UWE Engineering and the activities of the Outreach team on the UWE Engineering our Future website.
Explorer Dome is an internationally known, vibrant, popular science outreach organisation.
They 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 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.