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3 minute read

Ford partners with Primary Engineer to inspire next generation of engineers

Ford Motor Company and Primary Engineer are launching an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative for primary school children in 20 schools across Essex.

Primary Engineer, a non-profit organisation, runs a variety of engineering-based courses for children of primary school age. The objective of the courses is to make engineering fun and exciting, to help inspire the next generation of engineers. Primary Engineer links Ford engineers with local schools so they can raise awareness of STEM related professions and support teachers and students in the practical aspects of the courses.

Ford invited 40 teachers from 20 schools to the Ford Dunton Technical Centre to take part in a one-day practical course. The Technical Centre is home to over 3,000 highly skilled designers, engineers and support staff, all contributing to the company’s research and development of Ford vans and engines. The training day enables teachers to deliver a classroom engineering project linked to the students’ curriculum.

Partnership to inspire the next generation of engineers and raise awareness of STEM related professions / Picture: Spencer Griffiths


During the one-day course, the teachers design and build the vehicles that the children will be engineering throughout the academic year: a model car project for the younger children and an electric-powered vehicle for the older age group. This training day is structured to ensure that both the teachers and engineers fully understand the project aims and can successfully work together to deliver the programme in the classroom. At the end of the school year, the programme will culminate with a celebration event, where all of the schools will showcase their projects and compete for the best designed, built and tested vehicle.

“There is a recognised shortage of engineers across Europe. EngineeringUK have recently stated that the country needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025,” said Linda Carpenter, director, Product Planning and Strategy, based at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre. “Children form ideas about “suitable” careers from a very young age, and so we need to work with schools to ensure that children of a primary age are given the opportunity to learn more about STEM – and are encouraged to consider a future in the area.”

Ford Motor Company Fund, a non-profit organisation and the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is supporting Primary Engineer with a £15,000 grant to execute this programme. Ford Fund invests in innovative programmes focused on Education, Sustainable Communities and Safe, Smart Mobility.

“Research shows that one off STEM events have little impact on pupils,” said Chris Rochester, Regional Director, Primary Engineer. “This is why the Primary Engineer programme aims to link schools with the engineering world, by training teachers and holding a succession of fun and engaging classroom projects that will both develop skills and motivate Primary school children in the area of STEM. I am very excited to see the range of vehicles that the children will create.”

Who are Primary Engineer

Primary Engineer is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2005. Working across the UK delivering a range of programmes; Early Years Engineer, Primary Engineer, Secondary Engineer, Scottish Engineering Leaders Award, Leaders Awards (across England), The Institution of Primary Engineers and the Institution of Secondary Engineers and the PGCert Master’s Level Course Engineering STEM. It is supported by a range of government and industry partners including The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Skills Development Scotland, Babcock International and the RAF.