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Engineering inspiration at MetsaWood

An engineering experience culminated in teachers from the Boston area cheering on as a tiny electrically-powered car built from scratch that day reached the summit of a ramped test bed.

Boston Borough Council teamed up with Primary Engineer and a number of primary schools for the launch of a project to encourage children to think about a career in engineering.

Trainers from Primary Engineer and expert engineers from MetsaWood Ltd, RAF Coningsby, RAF Waddington, Mastenbroek, Anglian Water, Akerman Aviation and Marine and a retired video games engineer were on hand to help the teachers.

The day, hosted at MetsaWood Boston on Thursday, September 20, was organised by Boston Borough. And if the teachers taking part were anything to go by the project looks like being a great success.

The council is putting £40,000 into an initial two-year engineering education project to provide teachers across the three tiers of school education with the necessary training and tools to deliver curriculum-linked engineering projects.

The aim is to establish strong education and engineering industry links by partnering schools and pupils with engineers in the classroom.

The teachers' challenge for the day was to take a box of odds and ends and construct a self-propelled model car which could move under its own power in a straight line and climb a ramp set at increasing angles.

Teachers scratched their heads as they worked out gearing and power ratios, speed, torque and grip.

First to raise the ramp in the afternoon session was teacher Charlotte Collins from St Thomas Church of England Primary School who was working with Chris Akerman from Akerman Aviation and Marine.

Charlotte, a year 3 teacher, said: "It was really good. I'm hoping to get an after-school club or lunch club organized so all year groups have a chance to come along and join in. I think they are going to really enjoy it and it has been great that we have had a chance to make these rather than just be shown how to make them."

Lauren Nightingale, account manager for Primary Engineer, said: "I think it has been a real success and it is great to see all the schools come together and really embracing the project. Equally it has been nice to see the engineers from Boston spending their time with us outside their day-to-day job and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next few months and seeing what the children produce at the celebration event next year."

Nieves Counsell, science lead at Sutterton Fourfields, said: "Absolutely brilliant, the children are going to love this. The amount of science they going to learn from creating these structures is going to be amazing. They won't even realise how much they are learning about science whilst creating these structures."

All attendees took back to school an education pack whilst also included all necessary components for constructing their own self-powered model vehicle.

Clive Gibbon comment: "The skills of our residents and especially those of our young people are massively important to both our business community and Boston Borough Council. We have taken temperature checks from our businesses and acted on their concerns and this is why we have teamed up with Primary Engineer to start to embed a closer working relationship between education and business and equipe our young people with the necessary skills and exposure to the diverse world of engineering and where careers can be built here in Boston.  If we don't have the skills we will not be able to nurture businesses to start, we won't be able to grow and retain our great businesses and nor will we be able to attract inward investment which will support job creation".

Matt Warman took to social media after his visit and said: "I can't think of a project I've been involved with that I'm more excited by than the Primary Engineer project. Boston Borough Council are leading the way nationally by introducing this project into our primary and secondary schools, with experienced engineers sharing their skills with our fantastic local teachers. It means that local children gain an insight into inspiring possible future careers they may not otherwise have realised were available to them in the area and beyond, leading up to a celebration event at the end of the academic year. I was delighted to attend today's launch event at Metsawood, a great example of a local engineering business, delivering all B&Q's wood supplies from their base in Boston."

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