A small group year 9 students from our Bradford school had the opportunity to visit the University of Leeds’s Engineering department for a taster day, many of whom could go on to become the first in their families to attend higher education.
‘Engineering’ is a broad term which covers a vast variety of disciplines and is a vital area of almost every industry globally. The day began with a design and building task where students were required to prioritise which criteria they were going to fulfil based upon a vague and changing brief in a fast-paced task.
Following on from the students’ hands-on introduction to the day they were given a tour of the engineering department, which showed students the diversity of engineering. Students were able to see assembly robots, drone flight testing areas, state of the art 3D printers and some aspects of structural engineering in the form of the stress testing of metal beams for bridges. Some students expressed particular interest in specific areas, while others remained unsure which led us onto the topic of a ‘General Engineering’ course and how that may lead to a specialism further down the line.
The outing to the university included a short tour of Leeds University Union which can be a central part of student life on a bustling campus such as Leeds. The tours provoked discussion to address some of the misconceptions our students had regarding student loans, the affordability of living away from home, student life and the routes into higher education. The questions raised may not have crossed the minds of our students without a visit such as this one.
As a teacher of science with a physics specialism I found this visit useful. Many of the A-Level Physics students I have taught over the last few years have gone on to study some form of Engineering at degree level, which until now, I had almost zero knowledge and experience of. I am now aware of the way in which the course is advertised to prospective higher education students and more about the different areas within engineering itself.
Mr J. Green-Pride
Teacher of physics and science