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Inspiring engineers of the future

24 January 2020

Schoolchildren from across the Island will be challenged to think like an engineer and design a solution to an everyday problem at the launch of a national competition next week.

It will be the second year that Jersey students have taken part in the ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ competition, which engages primary and secondary school pupils in the creativity and careers related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). 

This year, Jersey Electricity has partnered with the Government of Jersey to bring engineering and engineers into classrooms to inspire young people to become engineering professionals of the future.

The Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois, who is opening the launch event, said: “Last year’s competition saw hundreds of Jersey students come up with a solution to an everyday problem, with some ingenious and inspiring designs created. Promoting STEM in such an engaging way, and giving competitors a chance to work alongside engineering professionals to come up with their designs, will hopefully foster a lifelong interest in these subjects.”

The ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ competition, also known as the Leaders Award, is run by UK organisation Primary Engineer and sees tens of thousands of school pupils from across the UK come up with ideas for engineering inventions to change the world. Winning and shortlisted entries are exhibited in public exhibitions around the country and designs are then selected and built by universities.  

Jersey’s 2019 winner, Ameya Colston-Weeks, designed a ‘Seater Scooter’ that featured a pop-up seat fitted to a scooter, providing respite for young people who wanted to take the weight off their feet. Her winning design is being made into a prototype by Kingston University engineering students. The fully constructed Seater Scooter will be presented to Ameya at an event in the summer.

The launch event on Tuesday at Highlands College will celebrate the announcement of Jersey Electricity becoming the industry partner for the 2020 competition. Roughly 60 pupils from primary and secondary schools will attend to meet and interview engineering professionals from Jersey Electricity to start brainstorming their ideas. 

David Crossland, the head of organisation development at Jersey Electricity, said: ”Jersey Electricity is immensely proud to be partnering with Primary Engineer and Skills Jersey for this year’s Leaders Award. As an organisation, we are keen to ensure future generations understand our work and the wider implications of engineering and STEM subjects. Fostering and supporting the pupils’ enthusiasm at this early stage in their academic career increases the likelihood that they will continue working towards a STEM-related career – something which we can certainly benefit from as we seek to attract a diverse and highly skilled workforce for the future.”  

Dr Susan Scurlock MBE, the chief executive and founder of Primary Engineer, said: “The support offered by the Government of Jersey and Skills Jersey has enabled us to bring Primary Engineer programmes to schools across Jersey for a second year and it is exciting and encouraging to see so many teachers and their pupils in the Island embracing STEM subjects in such a creative and cross-curricular way. The pupils have acquired skills and have shown a flair for engineering and with our continued partnership we look forward to inspiring the next generations of engineers in Jersey and to working in partnership with Jersey Electricity.”

Skills Jersey’s Dave Roworth, who developed the ongoing partnership with Primary Engineer to promote STEM skills in local schools, said: We are delighted to partner with Jersey Electricity. As a major local business, it gives our Island’s schoolchildren access to an even greater pool of specialist engineers who can provide the inspiration for the many design entries. We hope to see more than 1,000 children involved in this year’s competition, from as young as three to 18 years old.”

Local engineers and companies wishing to be involved in this initiative should contact​

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