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Tuesday 21 September 2021

‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’

UCLan partners with Primary Engineer in a competition to bring children’s engineering solutions to life

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Primary Engineer are to partner once again to help inspire local youngsters and spark their interest in engineering.

Primary Engineer is an educational not-for-profit organisation that provides programmes to encourage young people, aged between 3 and 19, to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

UCLan is the Lancashire partner for Primary Engineer’s ‘If You Were an Engineer, What Would You Do?’ competition, which each year sees tens of thousands of young people identify problems – large and small – and design solutions to solve them. University engineering teams will then bring some of these ideas to life by creating working prototypes.

Previous entries to the competition – which typically receives a 50:50 gender split of entries – have included the development of the 3D printed exoskeleton jacket to help a child living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

As part of the competition, experts from UCLan’s School of Engineering will be interviewed by the participants and will help to judge the entries from across Lancashire.

UCLan will host an exhibition of entries from local youngsters and hold a regional awards ceremony on campus next year.

UCLan’s School of Engineering will also build a number of prototypes from selected winning designs by the children who entered the 2020/21 competition.

"Inspiring the next generation of young engineering minds is vital for our future prosperity. We are therefore delighted to once again partner with Primary Engineer and work alongside our region’s talented youngsters. "

UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin

Dr Susan Scurlock MBE, CEO and Founder of Primary Engineer, said: “We are delighted to see our partnership with UCLan continue to grow with more opportunities for young people to see their ideas, which originate on paper take life in the UCLan engineering school, how can you not but be inspired!”

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice Chancellor at UCLan, added: “Inspiring the next generation of young engineering minds is vital for our future prosperity. We are therefore delighted to once again partner with Primary Engineer and work alongside our region’s talented youngsters. The ongoing development of our exoskeleton project demonstrates how exciting ideas can become reality with the potential to change lives.”

Building on their strong collaboration, UCLan’s School of Engineering and Primary Engineer are able to support UCLan’s ‘Engineer of the Future; from Primary School to Postgraduate’. This will include widening participation initiatives for pupils studying high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) projects as well as a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Postgraduate Certificate programme for teachers.

The ‘If You Were an Engineer, What Would You Do?’ competition is free to enter and is open to all primary and secondary schools in the UK. Teachers can register online, and schools will be provided with resources and lesson plans to support the competition. For further information, please visit: www.leadersaward.com

Pictured: UCLan postgraduate research student Ed Sanderson; Spinal Muscular Atrophy exoskeleton inventor Krystyna Marshall with UCLan’s Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, Dr Matt Dickinson.