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Young Eco Engineers Case Study

Young Eco Engineers involves young people in key stage 2 and 3 in the design and build of an electric car in school, sometimes during curriculum time, sometimes during lunch time or after school as a club. They utilise recycled parts wherever possible, including in the design and make of their team kits. They then go on to race the cars in one of three annual events. The children keep a record of their work over the course of six months or so prior to the race days, or Grand Prix. They are supported in school by visiting engineers or technicians who assist with the build, and complete workbooks which earn them Bronze CREST Awards (MEBP manage CREST Awards for Kent and Medway on behalf of the British Science Association). MEBP has developed the project over the years, with support from local professionals who see the benefits in terms of inspiring tomorrow’s engineers, and it is now a strong developmental activity that supports the transition of numerous young people from poor backgrounds who are amongst the least prepared to make the transition to secondary ducation.

Now in its 16th year, the story so far…

  • Engineers and technicians visit the schools weekly over the course of five or six months to assist in the build and design work, and help out on the race days.
  • Over 4,000 students, from 70+ schools, have participated in the project.
  • The students are in years’ 5, 6 and 7
  • Since 2000 over 200 employees from National Grid, BAE Systems, Delphi Diesel (and other IMEchE/IET members’ companies) have given over 10,000 volunteering hours.

Benefits of the Programme

Benefits for employers

  • raised profile in the community
  • meeting company’s Corporate Social Responsibility aims
  • developing employees
  • developing their future workforce

Benefits for employees

  • networking with other engineers/technicians
  • improving links to their own children’s schools
  • raised community awareness
  • interpersonal skills development, especially around leadership for trainee managers
  • enjoyment

Benefits for schools and pupils

  • raised awareness and interest in technology and engineering
  • a positive attitude towards engineering in teachers, pupils and parents
  • added context and enjoyment to the design / technology curriculum
  • enhanced key skills, especially team building, communication and problem solving
  • collaboration / transition between primary and secondary schools
  • improved links with local business
  • an introduction to accreditation - STEaM and CREST accreditation

Further benefits for students reported by teachers

  • improved relationships with adults other than parents and teachers
  • improved awareness of local business
  • raised self-esteem and confidence
  • sense of achievement, as they have built and driven an electric car
  • ability to work with good role-models other than teachers
  • involving our girls in technology and engineering
  • literacy and numeracy skills improve, children see a point to writing and maths
  • improves attendance, children do not want to miss club days
  • raises school profile with parents
  • fun day out for the family
logos of Delphi, IMechE, National Grid and BAE Systems