DUNTON, UK - Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford UK have been partnering with Primary Engineer® - an educational not-for-profit organisation that encourages children from 3 to 19 years to consider STEM and engineering careers - for the last five years
This programme was developed to bring the ‘Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics’ programme to primary schools and provides CPD courses for teachers to introduce engineering into Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 classrooms, supported Ford UK engineers.
To date, Ford has reached 65 schools in Essex, 140 teachers and more than 3,483 children with 45 Ford volunteers assisting. Volunteers can use their two community days – 16hrs – to support this initiative.
To tell us more about the programme and what motivated them to get involved we chatted to two Ford engineers, who have been actively involved - Adriana Cevoli and Scott Bell - who work in the vehicle architecture and chassis architecture teams.
How long have you been involved with the Primary Engineer programme and what motivated you to volunteer?
Scott: I joined the Primary Engineer program in 2018 with the hope of highlighting engineering to children in my local school in Basildon. My major motivation for signing up was to introduce the fun, diverse and challenging world of engineering to our younger members of society. I wanted to encourage the children to consider engineering and its rewarding career potential as early as possible in their educational journey; and highlight the importance of Science and Mathematics in future life.
What does your role involve?
Adriana: I support the kids and teachers with the car assembly, sharing my experience and pointing out the details of the project where the kids might find it a bit challenging, always focusing on their learning and teamwork within the students.
Which school have you been partnered with and what benefit do you feel the children in your school gained from being part of such a STEM education program?
Scott: I was partnered with Kingswood Primary School. The magic of the programme is its ability to simplify tasks and topics, allowing the children to gain the new skills and interests simply. As a STEM ambassador I provide answers that identify the different skills they have learned and how these can be applied in the engineering world in practice! I felt the children gained confidence and had fun in doing so!
Adriana: I supported two schools - Ingrave Johnstone and St Peters South Weald. Kids get deeply involved and develop their confidence in trying new things, curious and willing to learn more about engineering. We share in a simple way so that they can be very creative and develop new solutions, practicing engineering in a fun way.
What has been your most memorable experience supporting this initiative?
Scott: Being invited back by the school after we had completed the basic project and seeing the amazing “cars” that the groups had designed as part of the wider curriculum. The groups tested and showed off their cars to other children and parents and did so with a huge amount of pride. I was certainly proud of what the children had achieved and the smiles on all the faces!
Adriana: Seeing the kids deeply involved. They get most excited with electrical cars, when they connect for the first time and the car moves! They jump, they shout, they celebrate. It’s a great team work! This is the best reward you can have, their honest reactions.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering to support the Primary Engineer programme?
Scott: Give it a go! PE is a wonderful opportunity to show off all aspects of engineering. The programme allows you to interact with Children, teachers, and support staff, all of whom, in my experiences are very receptive and thankful for our support. Having the ability to potentially influence hundreds of young people to consider engineering as a career is made easy as part of the programme. I will be putting myself forward for volunteering on the programme for many years to come.
Adriana: It’s a truly genuine constructive sensation to see the kids being curious, discovering new tools, building and creating the cars models. Being able to offer some guidance and watch them thrive is really rewarding.