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Business & Economy

‘Bring It On’ inspiring the next generation of engineers

Bring It On 2019 welcomed around 1200 primary school children to Sunderland’s Beacon of Light today (October 9), where they were given the chance to experience real-life STEM activities hosted by more than 80 local businesses and organisations.

The major event, now in its third year, is organised by RTC North and partners and aims to address the skills gap within engineering by inspiring young people at the grassroots level.

Attendees included primary school children from across the North East who were encouraged to try a range of interactive activities spanning civil and structural construction; subsea oil and gas and renewable energy; chemical, biotech and pharmaceutical; automotive, rail and aerospace; and creative and digital technologies.

Among the businesses and organisations involved were the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Pearson Engineering, Caterpillar, Siemens, Accenture, Northumbrian Water, Nissan, GlaxoSmithKline, Virgin Money and Blyth STEM Hub.

Polly Westergaard, creative lead at RTC North, said: “The event is about bringing businesses together with children to spark their interest within the engineering industry and show them what’s on their doorstep in terms of future jobs.”

Alison Hewitt, academy coordinator at Northumbrian Water, which exhibited for the first time this year, said: “We’ve been telling the school children about the different careers at Northumbrian Water and giving them the chance to have some hands-on experience at fixing a water main.

“The children have been so engaged and so interested. All the companies involved have really stepped outside of the box in terms of the activities they’ve brought. It’s brilliant to see.”

Emma Stephenson, a teacher at Rift House Primary School in Hartlepool, brought 14 pupils to this year’s Bring It On. She said: “We decided to support the event as it encourages children to explore STEM activities and see what’s out there when they get a bit older in terms of their career.

“The kids have really enjoyed it. They’ve embraced everything they’ve been asked to do and experienced things they’ve never done before.”

Bring It On 2019 continues tomorrow (October 10), where secondary school pupils will visit the Beacon of Light, along with special guest Andy Aldrin – son of Buzz Aldrin.