Sunderland teenagers get a taste of engineering

Pupils take part in an engineering careers taster session at David Goldman Informatics Centre at Sunderland University.
Pupils take part in an engineering careers taster session at David Goldman Informatics Centre at Sunderland University.
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Young people in Sunderland spent the half-term break engineering themselves good futures.

A group of teenagers from Sunderland signed up to taster sessions helping them find out about careers in engineering.

Student ambassador Levinia Mathews with pupils at the David Goldman Informatics Centre.

Student ambassador Levinia Mathews with pupils at the David Goldman Informatics Centre.

The sessions were held over three days, one at the University of Sunderland, one at Nissan and one at Sunderland College.

Organised by the Engineering Development Trust, the project is focused around the places STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths - subjects can lead to.

Routes into STEM provided the Wearside Year 10 students, aged 14 and 15, the opportunity to see the options available to them after school, such as higher and further education study and apprenticeships.

Various schools around Sunderland were asked if students wanted to take part and in total 30 young people joined the scheme during their half-term holiday.

Thornhill School pupils Abi Mennear and Rhian Kilty take part in one of the engineering taster sessions.

Thornhill School pupils Abi Mennear and Rhian Kilty take part in one of the engineering taster sessions.

STEM subjects are currently topical with Government looking to nurture their growth, seeing them as a key area of opportunity for economic development.

Steve Ross, co-ordinator for the Routes into STEM project for the Engineering Trust, said: “It’s quite an important time – we’re catching the students at age 14 and 15.

“For the current economy, STEM subjects are incredibly important – we need tens of thousands more engineering students every year in the UK.

“I think students at this age have not had very much exposure to the possibility of STEM subjects to be quite honest – they might have had some work experience, which may or may not have whetted their appetite.

“Certainly talking to students, I think they come with an open mind and there’s very few of them that say ‘I definitely want to be this’. They generally don’t know, and this is a fantastic way of them just seeing what is possible.”