BUDDING Brunels at a Stratton secondary school had a chance to pick up some top engineering tips from industry experts yesterday as part of a long-running partnership.

About 250 Kingsdown School Year 9 pupils worked with a group of engineers from global integrated infrastructure services company AECOM, PFA Consulting and Torin-Sifan and took part in a number of different activities designed to spark their interest in a career in engineering.

The day-long event saw students take part in a number of mini projects around several different themes.

In the past these have included everything from aeronautics to marine salvage cranes and are designed to encourage student initiative, teamwork, planning and basic engineering.

Craig Hamilton, the science, technology, engineering and maths co-ordinator at Kingsdown School, said: “The UK has a great history in engineering, but this will not continue if we do not address the massive skills shortage.

“We have some really talented pupils with a keen interest in engineering at Kingsdown so our partnership with AECOM is a great way of capturing their enthusiasm and channelling it into practical learning.”

AECOM has been working with Kingsdown since 1998 and the partnership has steadily grown to include 20 engineers, 250 pupils and nine challenging design and construction projects.

The partnership was established as part of the Neighbourhood Engineers’ initiative, which was introduced by the Engineering Council and aimed to encourage engineers to work closely with local schools to develop engineering awareness and talent.

AECOM engineering day co-ordinator Mark Hillyard said: “Local school initiatives like the event at Kingsdown School have been a tremendous success.

“It’s never too early to instil a passion for engineering, so bridging the gap between the workplace and the classroom is essential.

“The students who take part increase their awareness of basic engineering principles while learning essential team working and planning skills they can take forward into their future careers.

“AECOM has worked with PFA Consulting and Torin-Sifan to support initiatives at Kingsdown School for many years and it is great to see the local engineering community coming together to provide these opportunities for the next generation of potential engineers.”

According to the report, The State Of Engineering, 55,000 jobs should be filled every year to meet the demand for skilled workers. with engineering skills.

The figures included in the report show that the skills shortage could cost the UK economy up to £27 billion a year if companies fail to hire 182,000 engineers annually until 2022.