Prospects for young engineers in Fylde are building according to business leaders who launched the Gazette’s Young Engineers Challenge 2015.
The search is on for the bright young things of the future to help solve the huge skills gap the country faces when it comes to engineering.
At a glittering launch at Fylde Rugby Club, the STEM Skills Challenge gives teenagers a chance to show off their prowess in the subjects, competing with other schools to win the top prize by completing a tough task.
Every secondary school on the Fylde coast is in with a chance to win £10,000 to fund science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) work in school and there is a secondary prize this year of £2,000 for the school which can show it has the best STEM club.
The competition is sponsored by Cuadrilla and Centrica, and hosted by Blackpool and The Fylde College, to inspire and enthuse youngsters in the key areas.
Last year’s winners St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool has used its £10,000 winnings to fund once-in-a-lifetime trips to see inspirational scientists.
Last year’s challenge saw children design and build a wind powered buggy but this time the game has been raised – literally – the youngsters will have to make a working cable car just using basic materials.
Speaking at the launch event attended by more than 100 industry and education figures, Francis Egan, chairman of sponsor Cuadrilla, said the next generation of engineers was vital for the county’s economy. He said: “I was delighted when Blackpool and The Fylde College was announced last week as the headquarters of the country’s new onshore oil and gas centre. It is a fantastic opportunity for people here.”
He said last year’s Challenge showed the enthusiasm and resourcefulness of the young people and schools involved in solving an engineering problem and this year’s event was set to prove exciting.
“We at Cuadrilla face the challenge of balancing conflicting demands, engineering and environmental, in helping to meet the country’s energy demands. I am confident that our young engineers in the competition this year will rise to their challenge, too.”
Simon Eccles, headteacher from last year’s winners St Mary’s Catholic Academy, said: “It was a fantastic competition for the students and great for them to see the engineering process in action.”
Blackpool Gazette editor Jon Rhodes said: “You only have to see how much the students love being part of the competition and the expert guidance and enthusiasm offered by our kind hosts Blackpool and The Fylde College to realise this is opening up opportunities for young people.”
Schools will be contacted with full details, but in the meantime, they can register by contacting The Gazette Promotions Department on (01253) 361709.