UK Sport's Podium Innovation Partner BAE Systems has today launched a nationwide initiative to inspire the next generation of British engineers and help Britain’s top athletes become even more competitive.
The BAE Systems’ initiative aims to counter an alarming decline in the number of youngsters choosing engineering as a career option and address a worsening national skills shortage which could, in the longer-term, damage the competitiveness of British industry.
Linking to the defence, security and aerospace company’s technology partnership with UK Sport, a touring youth theatre group will highlight the vital role which engineers play in sporting success, to 20,000 young students during 2009.
The interactive performance features a young girl and her father working with Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley, via pre-recorded video clips, to develop a new racing bike and hopes to stimulate the minds of great young British engineers of the future.
The 30 minute youth theatre performance is followed by workshops in which young people explore what it means to be an engineer and how they might pursue a career in this field. Pupils work in teams to create their own Lego ‘mindstorm’ vehicle, which competes with others around a short racing course.
Throughout the nationwide tour, students will be invited to take part in a national 'Schools Challenge' competition, an opportunity for young people to help the GB cycling team by building a new racing bike that could help British athletes be even more competitive on the world stage.
Olympian Emma Pooley, who is also an engineer herself, said: “Athletes like me, who are competing on the world stage, work very closely with scientists and engineers to improve our performance and keep the UK ahead of the game. This is a fantastic way of inspiring young people to be our engineers of the future.”
The competition is open to all primary and secondary schools in the UK and challenges youngsters to discover more about engineering and science. The winning team will be invited to spend a day with UK Sport's Research and Innovation team at the wind tunnel testing facility, where the UK's top athletes, and their equipment, are put through their paces.
BAE Systems’ education programme is a Business in the Community ‘Big Tick’ Award winner. Further details of its innovative approach to developing a clearer understanding of engineering and its application in the world around us can be found on a dedicated website which details a range of free on-line resources for pupils and teachers (www.baesystems.com/education).
BAE Systems and UK Sport announced the formation of a major technology partnership to support British athletes in preparing for sporting success at the Summer and Winter Olympics, Paralympics, World and European Championships, in January 2008. The partnership gives the British sporting world access to leading-edge technologies worth £1.5 million as well as considerable engineering knowledge and expertise. The two organisations will work together until 2012.