Heathrow to inspire over 1,500 pupils towards engineering careers

Published on : Wednesday, March 19, 2014

displaymedia3-300x168Heathrow is sending 18 of its own engineers into local secondary schools to give pupils hands-on experience of engineering challenges.

The ‘Secondary School Challenge’ is a half-day event where pupils are taught to build a mini version of the Terminal 5 Track Transit System (TTS) – the driverless electric train that shuttles passengers to satellite terminals.


The challenge will visit different schools over a three week period from 28th of March, with around 1,780 pupils expected to take part. Heathrow’s own engineering apprentices will be on hand at the 14 schools, helping the pupils with the challenge whilst giving them an insight into the wide range of engineering careers available and the skills needed for them.

Jeremy King, Chartered Civil Engineer and school activity provider, will teach students about basic electrical circuits before setting a series of challenges, including using a range of electronic controllers to program mini ‘trains’ to perform actions similar to the TTS.

Head of Heathrow’s engineering apprenticeship scheme, Kelly Stone, said: ‘There is a wide range of exciting engineering opportunities at Heathrow. We want to ensure the talented young people on our doorstep are aware of these careers and inspired to choose the right subjects needed to succeed in them. The aim of the challenge is to introduce pupils to engineering in a fun, interactive, relevant way which we hope will ignite an interest for studying STEM1 subjects in the future.’

The Heathrow Secondary School Challenge began seven years ago in order to broaden local students’ awareness of employment opportunities at Heathrow. It complements Heathrow’s Primary School Challenge aimed at year 6 pupils, which sees thousands of 10 year olds build terminals out of newspaper.


Many children in the boroughs surrounding the airport will aspire to work there in the future but may not be aware of the full range of careers available, particularly those in engineering, or what they would need to study to be eligible for them. Whilst engineers are critical to the airport’s operations, they are in short supply. Engineering UK2 estimates that Britain needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet demand. Yet just 20 per cent of 12-16 year olds express any knowledge of what people working in engineering do, and just 3% of all GCSEs taken in 2012 were in physics – a key subject for those wishing to study engineering at university. Encrougaging pupils to study STEM subjects is the first step in reducing the current skills defecit in the UK.


Source:- Heathrow Airport

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