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20 Jun 2023

Plantworx 2023: Bridging the Skills Gap through STEM - Primary Engineer & Student Day

Plantworx 2023: Bridging the Skills Gap through STEM - Primary Engineer & Student Day
On the final day of the Plantworx Construction Exhibition, which took place on June 15th, five primary schools from the local Peterborough area participated in the Primary Engineer STEM challenge. The event was hosted by Plantworx and supported by the CEA (Construction Equipment Association).

Schools in attendance

Catmose Primary


Newark Hill

Hampton Vale

Nova Primary

A total of 40 pupils took part in the challenge, which aimed to promote science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) education among primary school students. The event was well attended, and a number of judges from sponsor companies were present. The participating primary schools brought their carefully engineered dumper trucks and lighthouses to the "Celebration Event," where the competition took place. The judges, including engineers and apprentices from companies such as Caterpillar, CEA, Datatag, GAP, Gomaco, Mecalac, Flannery, and Xwatch, evaluated the projects and interacted with the school teams individually. The judges assessed the design process, methods, and preparations used by each team. The teams' communication skills and the best theme of the day were also taken into consideration during the judging process. For the Primary School (Apprentice Level 1) teams, the final part of the judging process involved testing their dump trucks on a 12-meter by 4-meter "runway." The judges observed how far and how straight the trucks could travel. The Primary Schools that used batteries (Apprentice Level 2) in their lighthouses were challenged to a "tip test" to assess the center of gravity, reactions, and stability of their creations. Overall, the Primary Engineer STEM challenge at Plantworx provided an opportunity for local primary school students to showcase their engineering skills, while also promoting STEM education and fostering an interest in construction and related industries.
CEA's (Construction Equipment Association) Head of Skills, Nigel Baseley, expressed his satisfaction with the growth of the Primary Engineer event at Plantworx. He said, "This is our 3rd Primary Engineer event at Plantworx, and we are delighted with how the event gains momentum." Nigel highlighted the ongoing skills shortage in the industry and acknowledged that initiatives like the Primary Engineer play a crucial role in introducing young people to the opportunities offered by a career in engineering. He praised Primary Engineer's approach of incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) education seamlessly into practical design and technology activities in a fun way. Observing the significant participation of young children in the event, Nigel saw it as an encouraging sign for the future of engineering. He emphasized the CEA's aim to encourage as many companies as possible within their membership network, as well as the wider construction equipment sector, to actively engage in STEM activities. Nigel specifically mentioned the importance of supporting schemes like Primary Engineer. By promoting involvement in STEM initiatives, the CEA aims to inspire young minds, develop their skills, and cultivate their interest in engineering, ultimately addressing the skills gap and contributing to the growth and advancement of the construction equipment industry. Pupils, students, and graduates who did not participate in the Primary Engineer event were invited by Plantworx to attend the final day of the event. Parents, grandparents, and guardians brought their children along to provide them with a firsthand experience of a working construction show. The age range of attendees spanned from infants to teenagers, with over 200 children in attendance. The weather was exceptional, with the sun shining brightly—an unusual occurrence at Plantworx—adding to the wonderful experience for the children as they explored the showground. The young visitors gained valuable insights into the UK construction industry, including plant equipment, new technologies, and the myriad opportunities they offer. Additionally, the children learned how the showcased equipment contributes to the development of infrastructure across the country. School groups and other young attendees were also invited to embark on the Plantworx Student Trail, a curated journey that encouraged them to visit various exhibitor stands, engage in challenges, answer questions, and collect exciting giveaways along the way. The Student Trail serves the purpose of addressing the industry's skills shortage and fostering a greater interest in the construction equipment sector among young individuals. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="|,|,|,|,|,|,|,|,|,|,|,|,|" orderby="rand"]
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