UWTSD supports new programme encouraging young people to pursue careers in engineering

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Last week, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) MADE Cymru project partnered with Safran Seats, Cardiff & Vale College (CAVC) and the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) to introduce the first Industrial Cadet Award programme in South Wales.

Encouraging young people to pursue a career in engineering and STEM

The event was co-ordinated by Aerospace Wales Skills Ambassador, Vivienne Compton of Industry Learning Solutions Ltd. The initiative is designed to inspire 14-16-year-olds to pursue a career in engineering and STEM, by providing a three-day block of learning. The sponsored programme included one day with an employer, one day with a college (and workshop), and one day of activities and talks with a university.

About aerospace leader Safran Seats

Safran Seats specialise in First and Business Class seating for wide body aircraft. As a world leader in aircraft passenger and crew seats, Safran Seats partners with airlines and commercial plane and helicopter manufacturers to bring innovative and high-value solutions to customers, with expertise that covers the entire product value chain, from design to assembly and certification. One million seats made by the company are currently in service worldwide.

About the Industrial Cadet Award programme

The Industrial Cadet Award programme offers school pupils an opportunity to gain insight into the skills, knowledge, and experience required for a career in engineering. Viv Compton who has been championing the programme in Wales said: “The Industrial Cadet Award programme offers participants the opportunity to clearly understand the career pathways to engineering via apprenticeships and degrees – whilst also achieving recognition for their CVs and future job applications. It helps 14–16-year-olds visualise what a career in engineering really means – and how to get there. I am passionate about this opportunity coming to school children across Wales as I know from first-hand experience that the EDT’s Industrial Cadet Award and Routes into STEM programmes work. My daughter became an engineering apprentice at 16 and her journey began on a programme like this at 14 years of age. She is now a second-year level 3 design apprentice and contemplating a degree apprenticeship with Safran.”

Engaging young minds in engineering and science

As part of the new EDT programme in South Wales, the participants visited the University’s IQ building in Swansea, where they enjoyed a full timetable of activities, including talks, workshops, and a tour of the robotics laboratory.

Participants also had the chance to drive a racing car simulator and discover the exciting ways engineering degrees can be delivered through a blend of academic and practical content. UWTSD’s Degree Apprenticeship Unit provided information and answered questions about engineering apprenticeships.

The award demonstrates a commitment to engineering

Upon completion of the three-day programme, year 10 school pupils from across South Wales will have achieved an Industrial Cadet Award, which will demonstrate their commitment to engineering and showcase the valuable experience they have gained. Cardiff & Vale College also hosted a day at their International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT), giving prospective apprentices an opportunity to use the aircraft simulator and better understand their career options and routes to achieving them.

Welsh Government praise

Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething, said: “The Industrial Cadet Award is an excellent way of bringing real-world engineering practice to students and providing first-hand experience of what is required for a career in STEM. Ensuring we have skilled learners in these fields is vital to our economic prospects here in Wales – and to also make Wales a place where more young people feel confident in planning their future.”

Key stakeholder thoughts

Ellen Pugsley, Individual Programmes Lead at the Engineering Development Trust said: “It’s truly exhilarating when a successful Welsh manufacturer, college and university come together to create such a momentous opportunity. The young participants will get first-hand experience of the innovative technologies that are prominent in the field of engineering. Additionally, it’s highly advantageous for them to have a glimpse into the diverse career paths available to them, such as degree apprenticeships. This exposure is not normally offered by schools, and it can be life changing.”

Abi Summerfield, Senior Lecturer, Automotive & Motorsport Engineering said: “The UWTSD School of Engineering loved welcoming these young learners to our purpose-built campus. It is critical that we engage young people into STEM at an early point in their education so we can entice them into a career in Engineering. In the department we have a long history of moulding highly successful graduates by delivering traditional engineering fundamentals through exciting applications as seen in our Energy & Environmental, Motorsport and Motorcycle engineering courses.”

Lisa Lucas, Head of MADE Cymru, UWTSD, said, “It gives us immense pleasure to support the Industrial Cadet Award event. Our MADE Cymru programme is dedicated to upskilling manufacturers in Wales, thereby driving economic growth in the sector. As engineering and manufacturing are integral components of Wales’s economy, we take pride in being a part of an event that seeks to encourage and attract the next generation of young professionals to these thriving industries. Our team is committed to amplifying these career choices and boosting their prosperity to the fullest.”

MADE Cymru is a programme funded by the European Social Fund via Welsh Government and delivered by UWTSD. It is designed to upskill manufacturers in Wales, driving economic growth in the sector.

The Engineering Development Trust is a UK charity focused on helping young people develop their knowledge and understanding of STEM careers and work with industry, universities, and colleges across the UK. They offer the Industrial Cadet Bronze Award, Silver, and Gold.