More than 60 pupils from local secondary schools took part in an open day event at Schaeffler UK’s automotive engine component manufacturing plant in Llanelli, South Wales.
The event was part of the Government’s See Inside Manufacturing initiative, a nationwide ‘open days’ programme to help improve the image of UK manufacturing among young people, with the objective of attracting the brightest and most talented into a career in manufacturing and engineering. The event at Schaeffler UK was arranged in conjunction with the local college, Coleg Sir Gar, and facilitated by Schaeffler’s own apprentices and toolmakers.
The open day, which took place on 21st November, was divided into a morning and afternoon session in order to accommodate more children.
Pupils were split into teams in order to compete in an Engineering Challenge. This challenge involved them having to correctly read an engineering drawing before devising a suitable method for assembling an idler hub bearing. The winner was the team that correctly assembled their idler hub in the fastest time.
In attendance on the day were Alex Robinson, automotive components section manager at The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) and Paul Bullock, industry liaison manager at the Welsh Automotive Forum.
Alex Robinson commented: “The SMMT, in accordance with the Automotive Council, has aimed to build on local activities already undertaken by individual companies to coordinate a nationwide See Inside Manufacturing programme for young people considering their future career options.”
“It is especially pleasing to see the automotive sector taking a lead on this activity in 2011,” he continued. “Schaeffler’s event will hopefully serve as a tool to spark off an interest amongst local school children in engineering and dispel the outdated attitudes towards a career in the profession.”
Paul Bullock of the Welsh Automotive Forum agreed: “If the UK is to plug the current skills gap in UK manufacturing and engineering, it is critical that we attract more young people, both boys and girls, into a career in manufacturing. It was therefore particularly pleasing to see as many girls attending the Schaeffler open day as there were boys. Interestingly, three of the four winning teams on the Engineering Challenges comprised all-girl members.”
Roger Evans MBE, plant director at Schaeffler UK, commented: “Giving school children the opportunity to visit a real manufacturing plant, to ask questions and to see what it’s really like working with the latest modern machinery in a dynamic, fast-moving manufacturing environment is essential if we are to attract more young people into a future career in this industry.”