Quick Hydraulics are Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers

Date Added 03/08/2016

It is widely acknowledged that the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are major contributors to the prosperity of the UK, and industry leaders are now taking steps to secure the future of the sector. Recognising the need to encourage students from a young age to have an interest in the core STEM subjects, a Primary Engineer North East cluster was founded in 2013 to introduce Year 2 and year 6 pupils to engineering.

The cluster was made possible by the sponsorship provided by a small number of companies from the region, including Quick Hydraulics, a leading Fluid Power Centre. Overall, the scheme has been a great success, with over eighty primary, first and middle schools now involved from across the North East.

The Altec Engineering Group company has continued to support the initiative, and specifically two local schools: Appletree Gardens First School and Monkseaton Middle School. Rob Harrison, Mechanical Systems Design Manager has been working with Monkseaton Middle School and Dale Tansley, Apprentice Project Engineer with Appletree Gardens First School. Both representatives have been working alongside teachers to deliver activities focused on introducing young children to the engineering industry.

The Managing Director of Quick Hydraulics, Andrew Esson, is also the chair of the Primary Engineer NE Steering Group, a body consisting of business professionals and local council representative providing support and guidance for Primary Engineer’s activities in the North East. Andrew commented: “It is vital for the future of our industry to inspire the next generation, however, many of the current schemes target teenagers. Through my experience with my own children I know this can often be too late as they have already decided on a career path. By introducing the option of engineering at such a young age, the children’s interest in the subject can grow organically. Then, when the time comes to move onto further education, young people will have a wider knowledge all of the options available to them, including engineering apprenticeships and degree courses. The work done by Primary Engineer increases the awareness of the opportunities within engineering, and we are proud to be involved in a scheme securing the future of the industry within the North East”.

Most recently, Andrew and Dale were involved in the judging of the Primary Engineer NE Regional Final and presented the runners up award to Monkseaton Middle School.  The Year Six students constructed an electric motor vehicle, made possible by learning about and then implementing a pulley system. This year the entries from Monkseaton Middle School stood out due to the range of processes used, for example the body of the vehicle had been made using vacuum moulding and the aerodynamics had been tested using a wind tunnel.

The support for the next generation is present throughout the Altec Engineering Group, with apprentices making up 10% of the overall workforce. Apprentices, graduates and work experience students play a key role in the forward thinking nature of the business as it continues to respond to the needs of customers through a strategy of organic and acquisitive growth.