Sponne School pupils ‘blown away’ by hovercraft building fun at Silverstone Park

As the Inspiration for Innovation programme moves into its second year the children from Sponne School, our newest addition to the programme, have already been to MEPC, Silverstone Park to get a real flavour of what the businesses there get up to and to find out how those businesses are shaping the skills required for the jobs of the future.

Following  fantastic and consistent support throughout the pilot year we were once again able to give the youngsters a really positive and motivational start to their day with an opener from Roz Bird, Commercial Director at the MEPC Silverstone Park, showcasing the exceptional opportunities that are available on-site and in the wider region, encouraging children to consider pathways that will help them gain skills for employment in the exciting future job landscape. A super way to reinforce how this can be achieved was provided by Anthony Priest and his team at TD Group Ltd, specialist IT recruiters, giving a fun and insightful session on the necessity for positivity and great personal and social skills.

Then onto the interactive activities and factory floor tours where the young people had the opportunity to really see first hand some of the engineering and tech jobs in action. This included venturing to Delta Motorsport for some in depth knowledge around battery systems and a good look at the factory’s day to day operations. An engineer from David Brown Automotive shared their career pathway with the students and explained the processes used to build the cars, and the skills required. There were fabulous visual experiences for the children here as they got to see a variety of custom models in their build stage.

Silverstone Park is home to the Hexagon Metrology Centre – the UK’s only dedicated sub-contract inspection metrology facility. It’s a really valuable addition as it provides a much needed service to the start-up businesses located in the surrounding region (the Silverstone Technology Cluster). Here the pupils were able to use the precision measuring equipment and have plenty of opportunities to ask questions whilst being informed about the business by Claire Waterson, Silverstone Park Facilities Coordinator and her friendly team.

This year we welcome Dr Cristiana Pace of ENovation Consulting Ltd who brought along a fabulous interactive ‘Ride-on hovercraft’ activity, encouraging the children to practically apply engineering, design and collaboration skills in order to finish their own hovercraft, on which they were then able to ride. Here they are getting ‘blown away’…

The tour resulted in 92% of the encounters being rated as meaningful, which equated to an average of 4.6 per child and gave a total of 146 meaningful encounters. In addition, 100% of the students indicated they knew ‘ lots about jobs at Silverstone Park that require STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) skills’ following the tour compared to 29% pre-tour.

This has proven to be a fantastic way to inspire the Y10 & Y11 students at Sponne School and to help the school to  achieve their Gatsby Benchmarks as part of their National Careers Strategy obligations, as well as reinforcing the research by Education and Employers: Motivated to Achieve that multiple encounters with the world of work improves motivation to study and revise, leading to an improvement in GCSE grades.

A BIG thank you to all of those involved in making the day such a great success!