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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Students getting a hi-tech taste of future

THE next generation of creative thinkers, designers, and engineers are acquiring the skills needed for successful careers in the real world.

The bustling technology, department at Millom School is inspiring the young professionals of the future to aim high and grasp exciting job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) areas.

The experienced team, led by the head of technology. Peter Jewell, is encouraging 11 to 18-year-olds to see that they could be the next leading figures in dynamic partnerships such as Britain’s Energy Coast.

Through the areas of resistant materials, textiles and food technology, students are busy planning, researching, designing, testing and making a range of quality products. And in their own time the young people are working towards award-winning projects with real meaning.

Technology is at the heart of the curriculum, covering team work, independent learning, and communication skills – all key areas for establishing a career in the real world.

Mr Jewell, a former engineer himself, said: “Technology inspires children to follow careers in design, engineering and the creative industries: the careers of the 21st Century. And it provides all children with an opportunity to develop creative and practical skills which will equip them for life in a modern, technological society.”

Millom School has received local, regional, and national recognition for its STEM projects.

The honours achieved by the students include winning the South Lakes Young Engineers’ Competition, and the continued success in the British Science Association CREST awards, with mentoring from school volunteer and retired engineer, George Burch, in after school clubs.

Next March, Millom School students will head to the national Big Bang Fair in London to showcase their Sustainable Swimming Pool project.

The Year 10 students’ £2.5m vision for a modern and eco friendly swimming pool for Millom has already gained a Silver CREST award, and now they going for the Gold CREST Award.

Their research has run parallel with the community’s desire to replace the dated pool. The students’ previous report has been sent to Cumbria County Council and Copeland Borough Council, and the updated report will also be sent to the authorities.

Mentor Mr Burch said: “The kids have been brilliant. We are now looking at the costing of a variety of elements to the pool, so if the decision is made to build we have all the details to do it.”

A group of Year Nine students have also recently won a Silver CREST award with their STEM Doll’s House project.

The impressed judges at Big Bang Cumbria in Carlisle upgraded the project from bronze to silver.

Mr Burch, a retired mechanical engineer in the nuclear industry, said: “One of the problems with education is that kids get taught in boxes and they have difficulties bringing the boxes together and working out ‘where does this fit in the real world?’ That is where STEM comes in and where I come in. Doll’s House is a mindset ready for future projects.”

He explained how the students had used engineering drawings and measurements to make the Doll’s House.

Each student took interest in a room of the house and they fitted it out with lights.

The students have decided to raffle off the house to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

One of the students involved in the Doll’s House project was Skye Mitchell.

The 13-year-old says she has been inspired to consider a career in a STEM area.

Skye said: “We get lots of opportunities at Millom School, I stop behind a lot of days as there is so much fun stuff to do. I love doing practical and hands-on things.

“It was really good that we only went in for a bronze with Doll’s House and they said it was good enough for a silver award. We are really pleased with the end result.”

The teenager, who recently won the Junior Miss South Lakes title, made a stunning eco dress for the competition entirely from newspapers in the technology department.

She said: “Everyone has been really supportive. I stayed back every lunch over three weeks.”

The next CREST award campaign being planned at Millom School is a waste management project with support from Sellafield.

The team behind Millom School’s Sustainable Swimming Pool project is looking for any possible funding or sponsorship to help towards the cost of taking the young people to London to showcase their work.

Anyone who would like to assist them can contact Millom School on 01229 772300.

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