‘I didn't know girls could be engineers!’ South Shields pupils participate in Engineering Day
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Pupils for Seaview Primary School in South Shields got to experience the world of engineering, during a special visit to the University of Sunderland.
Children from Seaview Primary School were joined by two other North East primary schools; Tudhoe Colliery in Spennymoor and Thorntree Academy in Middlesbrough - and the trio of schools headed to University of Sunderland’s St Peter’s campus, to participate in the interactive Engineering Day.
Pupils took part in a host of activities, which included; a campus tour, an electrical circuits workshop and a discussion with the latest generation of engineers.
The event was designed to inspire the young children to consider a career in engineering, and to teach them about what the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) industry can offer for them when they eventually consider their professional futures.
21-year-old Engineering Degree Apprentice, Lucy McDine, who currently studies at the University of Sunderland was on hand to speak to the children about her knowledge and experience of the industry so far.
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Lucy, from Wallsend, is a Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Lead with Advanced, which is a world-leading specialist fire equipment manufacturer based in Newcastle.
Lucy spends one day a week studying on campus, and spends the rest of the week training within the workplace.
Lucy said: “This event was a positive way to gather an insight into engineering from another angle. The children and I talked about different engineering pathways, qualifications, and my work and experience at Advanced over the past five years since leaving school myself.
“The children took an interest in electronics and were able to talk about their knowledge of fire safety equipment in more detail at the end of the session.”
When meeting Lucy, one young girl exclaimed: “I didn't know girls could be engineers!”
The pupils were also shown a presentation from Dave Knapton, the Principal Lecturer and the Engineering Academic Team Leader in the Faculty of Technology, which explained the history of engineering in Sunderland, from shipbuilding to advanced manufacturing and computer science work that happens at the University of Sunderland today.
Dave said: “It was fascinating to hear the questions they asked our students and engineering team, we covered such issues as the increase in use of artificial intelligence, how difficult problems can be solved, what inspired us to become engineers and lots lots more besides.
Throughout the day they were able to create some electronic circuits and create their own inventions to solve world problems.”
A teacher from Seaview Primary School explained the importance of the day to the young pupils, as they said: "The Engineering Day provided an invaluable experience to our children. Not only were they exposed to the world of engineering, some of our children now aspire to become engineers when they are older and have hopes of attending the University of Sunderland.
“The children loved every activity, from interviewing engineers and hearing of their experiences and steps to success, to exploring circuits and touring the campus, with a special visit from the robotic dog! Our children felt so lucky and were incredibly excited to broaden their knowledge of engineering back at school."