Automotive manufacturer McLaren yesterday welcomed schoolchildren to its technology centre and manufacturing base near Woking.
The visit took place as part of ‘See Inside Manufacturing’, a government initiative designed to raise the profile of high tech manufacturing in the UK and of career opportunities within the industry.
The lucky students from Woking College were selected after taking part in a hands-on Manufacturing Challenge competition. They were given a tour of McLaren Technology Centre and met engineers working on the new MP4-12C high-performance sports car.
Among other talks and tour activities, Brad Fincham, one of McLaren’s young Vehicle Dynamics Test Engineers gave students a presentation detailing his professional inspirations and what life is like day-to-day as an engineer for one of the UK’s most iconic and elite manufacturers.
The See Inside Manufacturing campaign launched in July but the main body of events have taken place in October with McLaren’s tours being a highlight.
The campaign is designed to address serious skills shortages and lack of awareness around manufacturing opportunities. A survey carried out by the Engineering and Technology Board which found that 49% of 7 to 11-year-olds thought it would be ‘boring’ to be an engineer and only 12% of 11 to 16-year-olds claim to have any knowledge of what a career in engineering would be like.
Speaking of the importance of throwing open factory doors to young people Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive, said:“We’ve seen a worrying decline in our industrial base over the past two decades and this alarming trend must be reversed if we’re to create a more stable and prosperous future for our country.
“Changing the perception of manufacturing and engineering amongst students represents a critical first step in this process so I lend my full support to the See Inside Manufacturing initiative.”
The automotive sector is leading the way with Se Inside Manufacturing. So far, 40 have committed their time and resources to supporting the initiative.