“I always look forward to coming here because it’s such a great opportunity and I feel cared about” 

Back in January, 44 young people from all areas in Staffordshire came together for the first time with a shared goal … to take part in a 3-year transformative learning experience, learning how to think and act like engineers.  It turns out that our young people are excelling in all areas of Academy life, from developing their engineering skills and knowledge and completing intricate design projects to building solid relationships with their peers and developing key transferable skills that they will take forward into their future education and careers.

As we approach the end of the UK academic year,  we caught up with our Cohort 3 aspiring engineers and asked them to reflect on their experiences during their first year of the Next Engineers Academy.

What initially interested you about the Next Engineers Academy opportunity?

“I was interested in the prospect of meeting new people and learning new things. As well as developing skills that I can take forward into real life”

“I was captured by the fact I would be in an environment where it’s not just boring school stuff!  We can get hands on and have that grown up freedom that comes in a workplace whilst being able to learn and being surrounded by engineers learning from people around me”

“The opportunity to learning engineering skills to add to my CV and the possibility of backing to fund my career”

“I was really interested in finding out whether engineering was for me on the whole as I was already fascinated by it, also I love the people there and Ben and Carl and the rest of the people who run it, I’ve been shown never ending support and genuinely I’m so grateful.  

What has been your favourite design challenge this year and why?

“The glider challenge! We had a very small group and encountered a lot of problems, but we had a lot of fun and learnt quite a bit! I enjoyed the learning and even if it didn’t work, we had fun”

“My favourite was the glider as I have always loved airborne things like planes and helicopters and i had lots of  fun creating it with my teammates”

“ Mousetrap cars – very interesting to figure out how to change elastic potential energy into kinetic energy.  It was an enjoyable challenge to make the car go as fast as possible”

What has been your biggest learning point since starting the Academy?

“The glider challenge was my biggest learning point, my group and I learnt a lot about how to learn from failures. We persevered through the entire challenge. I believe the entire group learnt something that challenge”

“Delegation and teamwork. It’s important to share the help and use other people otherwise your project won’t succeed”

“I learnt during the middle that it’s fundamental to get to know absolutely everybody in the Cohort and make everyone feel included and useful”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Has attending the Academy altered your future education and career plans and why?

“I’m hoping that I can either attend university or to join the RAF as an apprentice mechanic”

“Agricultural engineering”

“It’s made me think more seriously about engineering and definitely showed me I have skills in the design process more than the actual building and it’s made me consider electrical engineering more”

“I see myself in an apprenticeship doing practical work”

What are you looking forward to in years 2 and 3 of Academy?

“I’m looking forward to learning skills that I can take forward and build on during my career”

“I’m looking forward to more challenging work, learning more engineering concepts”

“I’m looking forward to new challenges , new laughs and new memories”

“Making new friends. The progress from when you first meet everyone till now is crazy because you really make good friends from a completely new group”

We have been incredibly impressed with the standard of the young people’s work and ideas, and most importantly their commitment to the Academy. We cannot wait to see what the young people achieve in the coming years!

To learn more about our involvment with the Next Engineers project, please visit https://www.nextengineers.org/locations/staffordshire

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