Primary School Children Learn About the Importance of Combining Creativity with Technology from Top Industrial Designers

The Hill Primary Academy Y6 pupils recently explored how the combination of technology and creativity offered exciting future career options. At an event organised by Gaia Innovation as part of the Inspiration for Innovation Programme, and kindly hosted by Birkdale School in Sheffield, the 35 pupils also found out about the ever-expanding range of future jobs and the need to broaden their horizons and aim high.

The VIP speaker for the day was Siobhan Hughes, Chief Designer Jaguar Colour and Materials.

Siobhan spoke about her career at Jaguar, what she enjoyed about her job and how it was exciting to work on designing the cars of the future. As she later commented: “There is nothing more inspirational than working with young children, helping them to grow in confidence and recognise skills they may never have thought they possessed!”

The Hill students then took part in a Career Speed Networking event, speaking with volunteer business professionals and academics about their jobs and career paths.

The participants included: Siobhan Hughes, Chief Designer Jaguar Colour and Materials; Anna Abell, Designer Jaguar Colour and Materials; Kaila Cox, Colour and Material Project Designer at Jaguar; Sam Dolby, Composite Technician at McLaren;  Ranbir Lal, Architect and Head of Interior Design at Sheffield Hallam University; Mark Fisher, Product Designer, and Tutor Product and Furniture Design at Sheffield Hallam University; Joshua Holmes, Designer and Art Director; and from the world of fashion design, Roisin Reuss, Garment Technologist.

During lunch, the Y12 Birkdale students took the opportunity to chat to the volunteers, asking for more details about their jobs and career path, and advice for careers after A levels.

Activity sessions followed the networking event, with the pupils split into two groups. The ‘Design Technology’ group led by Phil Offer, Head of Design Technology at Birkdale School, built a model car  underbody including the chassis and wheels, while the ‘Creative Art’ group designed a body shell that was then attached to the chassis. Alex Armitage, Head of at Birkdale School, led the latter group and explained the importance of colours in design and why car designers favour particular colours.

The day concluded with a drag race in the school’s sport hall, where the top 10 pupils with the fastest cars received a McLaren poster from Sam Dolby.

Julia Muir commented: “It was great to see the children of The Hill Primary Academy enjoying their day in Sheffield and talking so confidently to these talented designers. We are very grateful to all of our volunteer designers who helped to make the creative activities such a fun experience, and to Birkdale School for hosting the event for us. The children have been inspired to combine creative and technology skills in order to access jobs in growth industries in the future ”