More than 2,000 students will visit an engineering exhibition in Scarborough next week as the education event conceived by two local businessmen reaches new heights.
Virtual reality welding, robots, royalty and a life-size version of the board game “Operation” are some of the displays on show at Scarborough Engineering Week (SEW) this week, which has registered more than 2,100 students.
Running from Monday to Wednesday, the technology and engineering expo hosted in the famous Spa on Scarborough’s sea front, has broken its visitor number record by nearly 50%. About 1,500 school children visited in 2012 show.
Headline sponsor York Potash and more than 40 regional companies will show young people engineering demonstrations and tell them what it is like to work in engineering and manufacturing companies.
“The purpose of SEW was always to give children a better insight into careers in technology and engineering, in an effort to generate a pipeline of talent to feed local companies with skilled labour,” says co-founder of SEW Alan Pickering, who is managing director of Scarborough-based Unison, a manufacturer of tube-bending machines.
Scarborough has a nucleus of engineering companies but it has been difficult to recruit people locally with the skills needed to run engineering companies that want to be competitive and grow, says co-founder Peter Wilkinson. “We say Scarborough is 100 miles from England,” in reference to the town’s distance from big conurbations in Yorkshire further south. “Growing local talent is important because getting people to relocate here is a big challenge.”
HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, will give a speech on Tuesday afternoon, the schools-only day, when Simon Watt, star of the BBC’s Inside Nature’s Giants, will give talks and make science demonstrations. The show is open to the public from 4pm to 7pm on Monday and Wednesday.
The show, organised with the help of the North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership, led by Rebecca McCleary, involves demonstrations including robots, 3D printing, welding and mining technology from companies including Atlas Ward Structures, Fanuc, Festo, Forum Subsea Technologies, Schneider Electric, McCain, Moog, Plaxtons, Sainsbury’s and the University of Hull.
“We are proud of what we’ve done and [the show is] reaching the point where it can stand on its own two feet,” said Unison’s Mr Pickering. “It is a big commitment for a small engineering firm to organise but you can see from the sheer number of schools who want to visit us that it is worth it, and we hope it will convert into the engineers of tomorrow, which this region badly needs.”