A group of school pupils solved real-world nuclear decommissioning problems as part of an inspirational and educational programme run by a local engineering company.
Eight pupils from across West Cumbria joined React Engineering for an entire week as part of the Into Engineering Week which is organised to inspire young people to think about careers in the sector.
React Engineering is an innovative engineering and project management consultancy based in Cleator Moor in Cumbria, which specialises in decommissioning and environmental clean-up. Built on providing smart solutions to some of the nuclear industry’s toughest problems, the business is passionate about making things happen and enabling its people to be the best they can be.
Getting students involved in engineering
The students were put through their paces as they were split into groups and participated in decommissioning problem solving challenges, producing a report and delivering a presentation on the proposed solution at the end of the week.
To assist the teams along the way, a variety of workshops and presentations covering vital aspects of engineering, ranging from structural analysis and design right through to risk management and costing, were delivered by members of the React team.
“The Into Engineering Week really gives young people an insight into the world of a professional engineer, and we are passionate about promoting career opportunities which exist within the industry.
“The programme provides experiences and activities that showcase how interesting and challenging the world of engineering can be, and it was great to see the pupils fully engage in the projects and produce some excellent work.
“There are definitely some very promising engineers across the area and we are proud to have given them the opportunity to develop their skills and interests further.”Consultant engineer at React Engineering, Kirby Johnston
An inspirational talk
As a culmination of the programme, the students were given an inspirational talk by pioneering Cumbrian mountaineer John Porter, who shared his experiences of world-first alpine adventures in expeditions which claimed the lives of many of his fellow climbers during the 1970s and 1980s.
John delved into his experiences of mountaineering and how different people perceive risks in different situations, which applies to engineering which is known for taking risks and pushing the boundaries to find solutions which had never existed previously.
Harley Ward, a pupil at Cockermouth School, said: “I was expecting to be bombarded and bored with lots of information, however all the information given was interesting, fun and well presented.”
Harley Irving, of West Coast Sixth Form, added: “This week has changed my perception as I did not realise the amount of different engineering roles there was.”
Fun-filled activities round off programme of inspirational learning
To round off a successful programme, students from St Benedict’s, Westlakes Academy, Netherhall and Cockermouth secondary schools headed to Kepplewray where they participated in activities including archery, crate stacking and survival skills, followed by an afternoon of canoeing on nearby Coniston Water. Other activities include educational university workshops, tours of engineering facilities, personal development, business-related tasks and regular individual mentoring sessions with Inspira.
The group of 40 students were led by representatives from Inpsira, a charity which supports employers to meet skills gaps across Cumbria and Lancashire, with members providing support and encouragement to the students throughout the activities.
The programme was designed to encourage more students to get involved in pursuing STEM subjects at GCSE and beyond and to develop their potential further.