Record Breaking Get up to Speed Goes Supersonic!

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In the true spirit of collaboration, for the 6th year in succession, local companies and partners came together with the work-wise Foundation to support the annual Get up to Speed with Engineering and Manufacturing interactive careers showcase, which returned to Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham for the second time on April 20th.

Now thought to be the largest event of its kind in the North of England, this well established annual event attracted over 2,000 visitors. The day gives young people and those who influence and teach them an insight into the many and varied career opportunities in engineering, manufacturing and technology.

The event is organised by local charity the work-wise Foundation, in partnership with Very Creative Ltd, RiDO, Creative Sheffield, Parker President, the Manufacturing Forum and founding sponsors Tata Steel and the IMechE. Organisers were also delighted to welcome AESSEAL plc, IMechE Engineering Training Solutions, Santander, Highlander IT & Telecoms and Made in Sheffield on-board as event sponsors.

“Employers know best the world of work, they know best what skills and aptitudes employees need and they know how best to inspire young people about their future, so it makes absolute sense that local companies within and supporting the sector come together to provide this incredibly engaging, informative and fun careers event” said John Barber Chair of the organising committee and co-founder of the work-wise Foundation.

John added “this year’s event proved to be record-breaking in more ways than one, not only was our headline attraction the world record challenging Bloodhound Supersonic Car but with around 2,000 visitors, 45 schools attending and over 70 employers and attractions, we broke a few previous records of our own.

We had a vast array of different attractions, demonstrating to young people the impact that science, technology, engineering and maths has on our world, including Rolls Royce aircraft engines, a whole range of alternative powered vehicles (Electric BMWi3 and Tesla and ITM Power hydrogen powered car), Rally and Formula Racing cars (some built by students), a range of hands on simulators, virtual reality experiences, giant digital Scalextric track (10 X 10 metres), mind controlled vehicles and the fastest blind driver in the world. Oh and of course we had a Dalek and Our Cow Molly Ice Cream!

Speaking about why they get involved, Peter Ingham – Chairman, IMechE Yorkshire Region said “A principal objective of the IMechE is to promote engineering as an exciting and rewarding career for young people and help to alleviate the predicted shortfall in skilled engineers in the near future. Therefore, the Institution were pleased once again to support this unique Get up to Speed event which brings engineering companies together with young people to raise awareness of the wide variety of engineering career opportunities in the region.”

Founding Sponsor Mick Hood, HR Director for Tata Steel said “Tata Steel has supported Get up to Speed ever since its inception and continue to see its importance in raising awareness among young people, teachers and parents of the exciting opportunities on offer by choosing an engineering or science-based career.

The day is all about young people who also help to organise the event and participate in the work-wise Made in Sheffield Innovation Competition, which is judged on the day. The innovation competition sees local companies buddying with local schools, presenting them with a real business challenge or opportunity, which they work on together and present their work to a panel of judges from the business community. This year’s competition winner was Firth Park Academy, partnered with Magnomatics Ltd, with the prizes being presented by the Master and Mistress Cutler and former England and Manchester United footballer Lee Sharpe.

On winning the competition, Firth Park Teacher Dan Skelton commented “The students have reacted so well to their achievement, it really goes to show the confidence and impact a program like this can offer when you have a team that work hard and value the importance of it. What has impressed me most is the students ability to digest what was a very technical project brief.”

On their visit, Nick Woffenden of Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School commented “It was a thoroughly enjoyable day for the students and teachers alike and perhaps more importantly certainly acted as a catalyst to their enthusiasm for engineering and technology. We’ll be back next year!”

“Next year’s Get up to Speed is already being planned and will be hosted once again at Magna on 26th April” said Jackie Freeborn, co-founder of the work-wise Foundation.

“It is a huge amount of work, but worth it to see so many young people, schools and parents working with local employers. It’s a fantastic thing for the region and particularly for Rotherham, and as Chair of Women in Business for Barnsley and Rotherham, I was also delighted to see so many girls attending the event”.

The event also attracted a large number of VIPs including The Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mayor of Rotherham, Master and Mistress Cutler and Lord and Lady Mayoress of Sheffield.