EDT event at Falkirk Campus
College hosts EDT school competition
A select group of S4 pupils from schools in the Forth Valley area have excelled in a brand new 3-month scheme designed to launch young people into stellar careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The Final of the EES4 competition- a bespoke programme developed in partnership with The Engineering Development Trust (EDT), Forth Valley College and Balfour Beatty- was held at the College’s Falkirk Campus on Thursday 1st May.
"This project has given pupils a stage to showcase their skills and knowledge to a large audience,” said St. Mungo’s High School teacher Martyn Cullen. “The challenge has tested their teamwork and commitment with all gaining industrial knowledge and understanding of potential career paths."
EES4 is based on The Engineering Development Trust’s long-standing Engineering Education Scheme (EES) which was established 1984 in response to a problem which continues to face the UK economy: a shortage of young people with the required skills and experience choosing to enter STEM professions in the UK today. EES4 provides pupils with an opportunity to develop their employable skills and knowledge of the STEM workplace, allowing them to make informed decisions at a stage in their lives critical to their future career paths.
“The pupils who took part today are at a critical stage of their education and have some big choices to make about where they go next,” said Balfour Beatty Community Benefits Advisor Joseph Drugan. “We are proud to support the local community by passing on some of our knowledge, experience and guidance to the next generation of engineers and construction professionals. Balfour Beatty hope that today’s young people have had their eyes opened to the bright career future open to them in the construction industry.”
Pupils from Graeme High School, Falkirk High School, St. Mungo’s High School, Braes High School, Denny High School, Bo’ness Academy and Stirling High School were mentored by a passionate team of expert staff from Balfour Beatty, who also provided the real-world engineering problem which formed the basis of the projects. Pupils were challenged to develop their own solutions to a real problem encountered by Balfour Beatty in their construction of the new Forth Valley College Falkirk Campus: how to maintain temperature levels in the main reception area in an innovative and energy-efficient way.
Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be involved with such an innovative and exciting project geared towards encouraging fourth year high school pupils into careers in STEM subjects. With this scheme focusing on the construction of our new college building, we can say in years to come that we were ‘Making Learning Work’ – our college ethos - even before the new campus was completed!”
Each school produced their own unique solution in the form of a written report, model, display board and verbal presentation, judged on the day by Volunteer Assessors from Forth Valley College and Balfour Beatty. Graeme High School scooped the top prize of Best Overall Project, whilst the Innovation Award was given to Falkirk High School. Pupils also got the chance to view each other’s projects and vote for their favourite, awarding the Pupils’ Choice prize to St. Mungo’s High School.
The EES4 project equips young people with valuable STEM skills and a more detailed knowledge of potential STEM careers, but also with experience that will benefit them in any line of work, including teamwork, project management and critical thinking. Additionally, all pupils who complete the project graduate with an Industrial Cadets Silver-Level Award, proving to prospective employers that they have taken part in an industry-led work experience programme.
“Taking part in EES4 has helped me to get accepted onto an engineering Foundation Apprenticeship at Forth Valley College,” said Josh Clark from Denny High School. His team-mate Fraser Lee also said that he had already experienced the benefits of getting involved.
“This project has helped me develop my social skills, communication and team organisation,” said Fraser. “When I went for an interview at college I mentioned my participation in the EES4 project and my interviewer was very pleased- I think it set me apart from other candidates."
EES4 is the newest in a range of tasters, projects and courses developed by The Engineering Development Trust to encourage young people into further education and careers in STEM.