Primary Engineer is an educational not-for-profit organisation founded in 2005 which aims to engage both primary and secondary school pupils and teachers with the vast and inspirational world of engineering and technology. They work with businesses and industry across the UK to help develop a future, diverse generation of engineering and technology professionals.
The competition asks pupils aged 3-19 “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” and is free to every school in the UK. The initiative encourages pupils to identify problems in the world around them and come up with creative solutions, embedding within them that innovative problem-solving is a key part of being an engineer. Primary Engineer just celebrated its 10th year anniversary of running this competition which original began in Scotland and has grown across the UK reaching 48,000 pupils during 2022 – 2023 academic year.
The Primary Engineer partnership will help Howden achieve their environmental and social strategy which promotes diversity of a global workforce and positive community impact.
Since the implementation of the ‘Bright Futures’ program in 2021, Howden has successfully connected with primary and secondary schools, community groups and organisations across Scotland. With a particular focus on supporting underrepresented and disadvantaged people within communities, they have hosted workshops both on and off-site to encourage young people to explore Engineering and STEM subjects. Howden’s team of volunteers seek to inspire future generations of Engineers and Scientists, to break down barriers and stigmas in the industry and to encourage everyone to learn something new and have fun.
A big part of the Primary Engineer competition is linking schools with engineering professionals to provide meaningful engineer engagement, first-hand introduction to the world of engineering and supporting schools with getting started on the competition. Over the past year, the partnership has seen Howden directly inspire 465 pupils from site visits with schools and Howden volunteers visiting local schools. Howden’s ‘Bright Futures’ community volunteering programme was launched to aligned with their social commitments to champion diversity, fairness and equality of opportunity.
“I had the privilege of attending two schools for the Primary Engineer initiative to tell them about my journey in industry so far and what I do every day as an engineer. It is so important to encourage and inspire young people to embrace creativity and continue to dream big – the Leader’s Award is a fantastic way to harness this creativity and put it into context to allow pupils to understand the innovation aspect of an engineering role. Volunteering in schools for this initiative was so rewarding – seeing the excitement of the pupils as they turned their thoughts, problems and curiosities into a potential idea or invention, reiterated the importance of outreach and how vital it is to encourage young people to pursue STEM subjects and careers.” Morgan Swan, Mechanical Design Engineer and STEM Bright Futures Volunteer.
Rowan MacLean, Primary Engineer’s Head of Partnerships for Scotland said “Primary Engineer is delighted to be continuing our partnership with Howden on the Leaders Award Competition into the 2023/24 academic year. It was wonderful seeing the inspiration and excitement pupils got from visiting the Howden site over the last year, interviewing engineers face-to-face and learning about the rich history of Howden in the local area. Primary Engineer celebrated 10 years of Leaders Award last year, and with over 12,000 pupils in Scotland alone having participated, we can’t wait to grow the competition further this year with our inspirational partners and inspire the next generation of Engineers!”
Joanne Moore, Product Development Manager and STEM Bright Futures Volunteer said “STEM outreach is at the heart of Howden’s Bright Futures Communities programme. Primary Engineer’s Leader’s Award competition ignites so much enthusiasm from the participants, it was a pleasure to be involved with last year and a no brainer for Howden to sign up to get involved with the competition again for the 2023-2024 academic year. I am looking forward to involving even more of our STEM ambassadors in on-site visits, school visits and grading days. Seeing the spark of ingenuity from the children is very rewarding, as they solve problems that will help others and make the world a better place. The next generation of engineers are out there. I am proud that Howden are involved in inspiring them through this great competition!”
Information on how to participate in this year’s competition is available to all schools and teachers via the website: www.leadersaward.com.