All Saints Academy Plymouth has teamed up with Babcock to change young people’s hearts and minds about engineering, demonstrate how exciting a life in engineering can be and overturn gender-based career assumptions.
A team of Babcock STEM ambassadors based at Devonport Royal Dockyard, led by Transformation Manager Tina Brinkworth, have already begun to contextualise learning for All Saints’ students as part of a wider STEM outreach programme designed to instigate cultural change, challenge damaging stereotypes and boost technical careers. Providing real life contact with the world of engineering, the Babcock team will deliver a series of fun, practical workshops which aim to introduce students to the key principles of engineering, improve their understanding of engineering careers and increase the uptake of STEM subjects to keep talented students on the engineering pathway.
“Getting hands-on is the perfect starting point for any engineer,” says All Saints’ science and engineering teacher Mike Barenskie whose links with the engineering community are successfully embedding industry relevant, enriched learning into the curriculum. “With Babcock’s help we are breaking down misconceptions about what an engineer does and who can become an engineer so that more young people consider engineering for the interesting, rewarding and fruitful career option that it is,” he adds.
“One of the greatest challenges we face is that a third of young people still don’t know what engineering is,” says Tina Brinkworth who has worked at Devonport Royal Dockyard for over 30 years, her entire working life, having first joined the organisation as a 17 year old technical apprentice when females only accounted for 1% of the intake. As well as being Transformation Manager at Babcock, she is passionate about closing the gender gap in Engineering. “The only way to tackle science literacy, gender imbalance and the looming skills shortage in the engineering industry is to show young people first-hand what engineering is all about, give them role models they can identify with and debunk unhelpful perceptions that its ‘just for boys’ or ‘the brainy’ few. Engineering is for everyone,” she adds.
As part of All Saints’ efforts to engage young people with STEM subjects and galvanise the next generation of engineers into action, its year 7 students are also set to get fully immersed in a Marine Engineering Pathway workshop during September, delivered by the Sea Cadets on tour. Working in teams to explore the scientific principles behind buoyancy and displacement, their knowledge will be put to the test when they are tasked with designing and creating engineering solutions for real life marine based scenarios.