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Rachel Riley joins Suffolk students in campaign to encourage engineering careers

PUBLISHED: 07:30 29 December 2018

Countdown star Rachel Riley (centre) with One sixth form engineering students at the Women in Engineering event in London Picture: ONE

Countdown star Rachel Riley (centre) with One sixth form engineering students at the Women in Engineering event in London Picture: ONE

One

Two further education establishments in Suffolk have teamed up for a new campaign to encourage youngsters to pursue engineering.

From left to right: One engineering tutor Ghulam Solker, student Natasha Harlock from One and Gary Jefferson, executive director of engineering at West Suffolk College with their robots Picture: JOHN NICEFrom left to right: One engineering tutor Ghulam Solker, student Natasha Harlock from One and Gary Jefferson, executive director of engineering at West Suffolk College with their robots Picture: JOHN NICE

One sixth form based in Ipswich and West Suffolk College have joined forces under the Suffolk Academies Trust banner – a collaboration designed to create opportunities for Suffolk youngsters in post-16 education.

The two institutions have built a robot each – named Ralf and Remmy – with engineering students going into schools with the robots to help inspire youngsters in an engaging way.

Natasha Harlock, a 17-year-old One student from Halesworth who is studying for an extended diploma in engineering, said: “It’s a unique project and I’m excited to be working with WSC.

“My first spark of interest in this subject came when I put together a mini manual pedal helicopter that flies.

“I now want to share that passion and show others that it is such a creative industry.”

Alongside the bid to encourage all youngsters, the campaign also includes a drive for girls to take an interest, to reverse trends of women being under-represented in engineering industries.

Natasha was joined by her female peers from One in a group called InParity – a collective of female engineering students – who met with Countdown star Rachel Riley in London at a Women in Engineering event aimed at inspiring girls.

Natasha said: “Rachel was nice, kind and intrigued about our story, our group and our future plans. It was a real boost to everyone involved.”

To help spark childrens’ imaginations, the two colleges have programmed their robots to dance, do karate moves and talk.

Gary Jefferson, executive director of engineering and technology at WSC, said: “It’s great to be working with One on this project. The robots really help this subject come alive.”

One engineering tutor Ghulam Solker, added: “This collaboration fosters social and shared experiences and provides fresh insights for students at both organisations.”

Data published by national community interest company WISE, which aims to boost women’s involvement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, said less than one in four people working in STEM occupations in the UK were women.

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