@PPMABEST hosts STEM day to encourage next generation of engineers

Manchester schools invited to explore future of robotics at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Manchester


PPMA BEST (Business Education, Skills and Training), an independent charitable trust set up to encourage young people to discover the opportunities for a career in the engineering industries, has partnered with the Museum of Science and Industry, in Manchester, to host an interactive STEM day on Monday 13th November.


The STEM day, organised by PPMA BEST and national education charity The Smallpeice Trust and supported by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) and British Automation and Robotics Association (BARA), is designed to excite and inspire young people with a focus on the future of robotics. Schools are invited to attend the free event, targeted at Year 11 students, where they will be encouraged to take part in an engineering task using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 core set and system.


The activity will engage students in an exciting computing, technology, engineering and maths challenge. It will encourage them to build, program and test their solutions based on LEGO® building elements combined with real-world robotics technology. All participating schools will be in with a chance to win one of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 core sets, worth £370, which contains the EV3 Intelligent Brick, a compact and powerful programmable compute and intuitive icon-based programming and data logging software.


Following the workshop, students will be invited to explore the museum’s Robots exhibition and discover recent developments in robotic research. The exhibition includes a unique collection of over 100 robots, from a 17th century dancing wine goblet and animatronic baby to Maria from the 1927 film classic Metropolis and a news-reading android from Japan.


Speaking about the event, Laura Pickering, Education & Development Coordinator, Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), said: “The MTA strongly believes in inspiring the next generation of engineers, and is proud to be collaborating with BARA and PPMA BEST on this STEM day. We are also committed to closing engineering’s gender gap, so we welcome the fact that the young people taking part in this event will be an equal mix of boys and girls.”


STEM days are widely acknowledged to support the aim of the National Curriculum and schools agenda by linking the curriculum to the wider world and demonstrating the direct relevance of subjects taught in school with the world of work.


Danny Reed of PPMA BEST added: “Partnering with the Museum of Science and Industry presents a unique opportunity for PPMA BEST to work directly with Manchester schools to encourage their students to explore a career in the automation industries. The day is designed to inform students about the future career and education opportunities, while encouraging creative thinking and enterprise skills. The day will also challenge students to exercise their time-management, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. We’re excited to welcome students to the museum to hear from working engineers within the industry and discover a whole host of exciting career opportunities.”


Sally MacDonald, Director of the Museum of Science and Industry, said: “We are committed to inspiring futures and encouraging young people into STEM careers. We are delighted to be working with PPMA BEST, BARA, and MTA on this exciting event which will help young people learn more about the opportunities available in the fascinating world of robotics – and give them the opportunity to see some of the latest advances in robot technology up close in our exhibition.”


PPMA BEST, established in 2014 by the PPMA Group of Associations, aims to encourage young people to enter and develop within the processing, packaging, automation and vision engineering industries. It offers a series of programmes including financial grants for engineering apprenticeships, match funded bursaries for engineering undergraduates and STEM days for secondary schools.


By addressing the on-going skills shortage and tackling short and longer-term recruitment needs, the charity aims to help the industry and its 500-member companies by growing the pool of next generation engineers through education and training.


The event is also supported by KUKA Robotics, Industrial Cadets, Siemens and Renishaw PLC, with further participating companies to be confirmed.


PPMA BEST partners comment on the upcoming STEM event:

“KUKA will always embrace the opportunity to inspire, educate and nurture young minds; the engineers of tomorrow. Robotics and automation is truly fascinating and captures the imagination of many, both young and old. Through supporting the BEST STEM event, KUKA hope to guide these young people and share best practice knowledge and experience in the field of robotics as they embark on their respective challenges. We wish each and every student the very best of luck and look forward to being part of this inspiring initiative.”

Katherine Johnson, Marketing Manager, KUKA UK


“Renishaw are really pleased to be involved with the PPMA BEST STEM event at the Museum of Science and Industry. Appealing to the next generation of engineers is key to the sustainability of our business and, indeed, that of UK industry.”

Stewart Lane, Business Manager, Renishaw PLC


“We are delighted to be supporting PPMA to offer a STEM day all about robotics at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. The Smallpeice Trust is committed to helping young people imagine the possibilities of a career using STEM skills. We have invited students from across the Greater Manchester area to come along and learn about robotics and the future of automation, as well as take part in the fun engineering challenge we’ve devised to put their skills to the test!”

Dr. Kevin P. Stenson, CEO of The Smallpeice Trust


For more information on the event, please contact Danny Reed on [email protected]