• STEAM
  • Senior
  • Sixth Form

Written by Peijing, MSJ Sixth Former

On Tuesday the Year 10 and 12 Product Design pupils visited Make UK’s state-of-the-art training facility in Birmingham. Make UK support the future of manufacturing and offer a variety of apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing.

Our visit incorporated a tour of the facilities, a STEM workshop and talks from the Make UK tutors and apprentices.

STEM workshop

  • Our task was to make a pneumatic mechanism which had to be able to lift and move a ball
  • Working in teams of three or four we had 90 minutes to design and build a working model using only cardboard, syringes, tubes, a hot glue gun, skewers, craft knife, safety ruler and cutting mat
  • The process allowed us to practice our time management, collaboration, communication and team building skills
  • “Failing is not something bad,” explained our STEM coach Rob, “if you fail you know what went wrong, where to make changes and how to improve your product”.
  • At the end of the session each team presented their pneumatic prototype to the whole group. Every team learnt they had improvements to make and could articulate how they could improve their work next time.

Conversation with our STEM workshop coach, Rob

Rob said “It’s not about gender, race, age. It’s about what you can offer, what challenges you are prepared to take on and how much you enjoy the work”. He stressed how important it is for women to get involved in this relatively male dominated industry, as female engineers bring a great deal to the industry.

Rob told us about one project he had been working on with a client: a new design for a hearing aid. His client had lost his hearing due to an accident. When he used the hearing aid for the first time he was very emotional because it was the first time, in a long time, he had been able to hear the birds singing. For Rob this was the most rewarding part of the project and outstripped any financial remuneration he received.

When Rob talked about his passion to his Job, the confidence and proudness is remarkable.