Jaguar Land Rover has excited youngsters with its attendance at the national Big Bang Young Scientists and Engineers fair.
The event, running on 15-16 March, is a yearly celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics which highlights the rewarding opportunities for those with the right experience and qualifications.
Mike Wright, executive director at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We have been involved with the big bang since its inception in 2009, but with this year’s events falling in our catchment area, it has generated more local interest. It is vital that we get a message across for engineering and the fair gives us an opportunity to show people firsthand what we are up to.”
Mr Wright added: “There is a shortage of qualified people to service the whole sector. We have taken in 1,000 engineers in the last 12 months and we are trying to show leadership on behalf of the whole sector and the supply chain” said Mr Wright.
“We are meeting our criteria but if we are going to expand the manufacturing sector in the UK we need more investment, more suppliers and more capability. It is the future challenge rather than the current one and perceptions need to be changed amongst young people.”
Wright commented: “When we talk about an engineering degree, people think of low value engineering jobs rather than aerospace or high tech, we need to highlight the highly skilled and paid opportunities that are available.”
Record numbers of schools and families were expected to visit the free show which is part-funded by the Wellcome Trust. A recent survey of 13-16 year olds by JLR highlighted how high the anxieties are in the manufacturing sector with regards to recruitment.
Mr Wright added: “We have a series of activities we run throughout the year including business partnerships which host school visits and three school competitions such as our 4×4 challenge and maths in motion.”
The JLR Big Bang presentation is putting an emphasis on future technology with interactive activities. The drive a car connectivity showcase displays a safer and simpler model of the driving experience with an example of what interfaces could look like in the future as well as new developments in jet turbine technology, light weight materials and hybrid batteries. JLR will also have the Land Rover Defender DC 100 concept vehicle on the stand.