The Institution visited the Senedd in Cardiff, taking the Bloodhound SSC model car, iPad game and balloon cars to show Assembly Members. The full-scale model of the car was on display to help raise awareness among schoolchildren, Welsh Assembly Members and the public about the Bloodhound SSC project, and its aims to inspire the future generation about science and engineering.
Over a hundred school children from local schools, including Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, St Cuthburt’s Primary and Neath Port Talbot College, joined Assembly Members enjoying the opportunity to see the car during the day. Welsh Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, was among the Assembly Member attendees.
Gareth Cemlyn Jones, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Welsh regional spokesman, said: “We need to encourage more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), to ensure we have the right skills to keep the country’s economy growing and to tackle the big challenges facing humankind, like rising population and climate change. We hope that by showcasing the Bloodhound SSC car people will realise the hugely exciting prospects there are in pursuing a career in engineering and STEM more generally.”
This year the Institution also participated in each of the three main political party conferences, holding fringe events on the topic of innovation. The events examined the issues of UK research and development spending, exploiting innovation for commercial gain and increasing exports.
Each event was well attended, by politicians such as Andrew Miller MP (Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee), George Freeman MP (Life Science Adviser to the Government), Gordon Birtwistle MP (Government Ambassador for Apprenticeships) and Iain Wright MP (Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills).
Discussion at each of the conferences focused on inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists, strong links between local employers and schools, the need for good careers advice and the need to explain the importance of STEM for economic success. Given that these are messages that the Institution stands squarely behind, it was encouraging to see politicians take them on board.
For more information about Bloodhound: http://www.imeche.org/knowledge/themes/education/bloodhound