On 16th October, as part of my role as a STEM ambassador with MerseySTEM, I attended the Engineering Your Future event that was held at Liverpool Football Club. After meeting the other ambassadors, we were assigned a group of 25 students. I supervised my group throughout the day as we attended workshops run by different engineering companies. First up for us was Astra Zeneca. After a short talk on biomedical engineering and vaccines, the students were split into teams and challenged to build a balloon powered car. Unfortunately, none in my group managed to get their cars to move more than a couple of centimetres.
Luckily the group’s morale was unaffected and we cheerily moved on to the next workshop, run by Aecom. Here, we got a talk by two graduate engineers about careers in civil engineering and some local projects that the engineers had worked on. The students were set the challenge of designing a new bridge over the river Mersey – a real project that Aecom is developing. There were a couple of students in my group who were interested in civil engineering and they immersed themselves in the project, carefully considering factors such as materials and locations.
Once the bridges were designed, the group moved on to Essar, an oil and gas company. After a short introduction, the students were told about a real oil spillage that occurred at one of Essar’s plants. The students were given example valves from oil containers and each team was assigned an engineer. The teams had to quiz the engineers and identify the cause of the spillage. This gave the students a chance to find out what day to day life is like for an Essar engineer.
After lunch, my group were given time to attend the market place. This was a careers fair where companies from all over the country had stalls with information about the work they do. At this point, I was able to explore the fair myself and speak to the engineers manning the stalls. It was really interesting to hear about different types of engineering, some of which I was previously unaware of! After the fair, my group headed over to a talk from ESR Technologies about the role of a safety engineer. By this point, some of the students in my group started to quiz me about my PhD and my route through education. I was able to give them insight into university life and further education options, as well as the career options that come with a degree in Mathematics. The final workshop of the day was from Atkins Global. Three engineers talked about their roles in the nuclear sector and their career paths. The students participated in some games that highlighted nuclear safety issues and the importance of personal protective equipment.
Overall, the EYF event was enjoyable and educationally rewarding both for me, and for the students who attended.