The value and worth of Northamptonshire’s engineering industry will be the focus of NEW2012, a week-long programme of activities this week organised in partnership by The University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Engineering Training Partnership (NETP) and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) and STEMNET.
Northamptonshire Engineering Week 2012 ‘On the Move’ will showcase the performance engineering and linked technologies industry – valued at contributing £2 billion to the Northamptonshire economy, focusing particularly on the high performance, precision engineering and manufacturing sectors. It will also promote engineering education and careers through a series of events on and off-campus, led by The University of Northampton.
Northamptonshire is one of the key centres for engineering and high performance technology. NEW2012 will bring together industry, schools, colleges and academia to celebrate the county’s work in engineering, as well as to educate students about careers in the industry, and facilitate professional development and knowledge transfer for the benefit of engineering. Current predictions estimate that in the UK over the next 10 years there is going to be a shortfall in excess of 120,000 vacancies for well qualified engineers; this is a pattern which is replicated across Europe. This shortfall is a significant threat to the future continuation and development of engineering and high performance technologies within the UK. Given the current trends in unemployment for the under 25 age group encouraging young people to think about and follow a career in high performance technologies has great benefits for the sector and individuals themselves.
NEW2012 is being held within National Science and Engineering Week which is a great opportunity to link in the high profile work that Northamptonshire is doing in science, engineering and technology with the national awareness week.
Four days of activity are planned:
Monday commenced with an industry visit to FESTO, a leading world-wide supplier of automation technology, and the performance leader in industrial training and education programmes, This multi-activity day concluded with second year University engineering students competing in a ‘Dragons-Den’ style pitch to an industry/academic panel, including the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing and the project sponsors the Stoke Bruerne Museum Association, with novel and innovative concepts in the design for a narrowboat.
Tuesday’s on-campus activity was a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Day with talks and workshops Year 8 pupils from Northampton-based schools from the University and key partners. Themed on ‘motion’, activities included ‘Electronics and Robots’ from the University and Labvolt, ‘Golf Club Development’ from the University and Golfsmith and ‘Aviation Engineering’, delivered by Sywell Aviation and the Aircraft Research Association (ARA).
Wednesday’s theme is ‘Engineering on the Road’ and will feature over 200 pupils from schools across Northamptonshire competing in the Rotary Technology Tournament at Weston Favell Academy. The students will be split into teams to compete in an engineering challenge. Engineering discipline University students will also be going out on industry visits that day to companies such as Cosworth, ARA, KAB/CVG, Nampak, and Railcare.
NEW2012 activities conclude on Thursday with an Engineering Industry Symposium. This will bring together key industry figures from engineering in Northamptonshire to discuss the future of and research within the industry, leading to further collaborations and knowledge transfer between delegates. The keynote speaker will be Tim Routsis, CEO, Cosworth, who will conclude the event speaking on ‘The importance of innovation and diversification within High Performance Technologies and Engineering’.
Julia Schumacher, Business Partnership Manager and lead on High Performance Technologies at NEP, commented to me:
“Northamptonshire is beginning to properly tell the world about its strengths in a range of High Performance Technologies and to raise strong awareness locally of the opportunities available, particularly for young people in engineering and linked emerging technologies. Engineering Week is an important part of describing this to a local, national and international audience and we are very pleased to be supporting the University in this initiative.”
NEW2012 is the first time the University, NEP, the NETP and other partners have collaborated in such away to promote Northamptonshire engineering excellence and it is planned the week will become an annual feature in helping to promote and support this very important sector.
By Dan Bailey, Senior Lecturer in Engineering, School of Science and Technology
- Damian Pickard
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