Bristol engineering firms help latest cohort of city’s ‘Future Brunels’ get on board

November 1, 2018
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Twelve young people are the latest to graduate from Bristol’s Future Brunels programme, which offers students real-world experiences in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) during their five years at secondary school.

Launched by the SS Great Britain Trust in 2011, the programme is made possible with the support and expertise of the Brunel Institute Corporate Academy (BICA), whose members include some of the area’s largest engineering firms such as Airbus UK, Babcock International Group, BMT Defence Services, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce and Wessex Water.

Nearly 100 students have now been welcomed onto the programme, with many choosing to study STEM subjects at GCSE, A-level and beyond after graduation. Previous evaluation revealed many participants say they could imagine themselves doing a science-based job in future.

The latest Future Brunel graduates and their families met representatives of BICA members at a reception on the Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

Bedminster Down School teacher Chris Sheard has been involved with the Future Brunels programme for four years.

He said: “It has been really rewarding to see how our students have responded to this programme and found inspiration and enjoyment in STEM subjects. The opportunity for them to experience real-life examples of STEM in action, working with local organisations, is invaluable.

“It is no surprise that a number of our Future Brunel students have chosen STEM subjects at GCSE and A-Level, as well as demonstrated increased confidence in their daily work.”

The latest graduates are: Franklin Avery, Georgia Purnell and Alex Davis from Bedminster Down School; Scarlett Beeston, Sumor Mckenzie and Saul Bhaidani (Cotham School); Amelia Wring, Morgan Brice and Joe Down (Merchants’ Academy) and Kai Damani, Hermione Taylor-Morgan and Poppy Chambers (Redland Green).

Joining the programme this year are 12 Year 7 students: Holly Carter, Maisie Padfield and Elijah Rew from Bedminster Down School; Alexander Cox, Iola Budden and Amelia Spooner  (Cotham School); Harrison Knapp, Alexandra Giampaglia and Eli Villanueva (Merchants’ Academy) and Jasmine Chung, Eoin Halloran and Bertie Cook (Redland Green).

The students follow a programme inspired by Brunel’s multi-disciplinary talents. It includes hands-on activities such as exploring the science behind the rollercoasters at Thorpe Park, discovering forensic science at UWE’s ‘Crime Scene House’, exploring Virtual Reality technology with Rolls-Royce or exploring the process of research and development with Dyson engineers.

SS Great Britain Trust’s acting director of education Dr Rachel Roberts said: “Huge congratulations to all this year’s graduates. It has been a pleasure to work with them and see their enthusiasm and expertise for STEM subjects grow. It was great to meet with them and their families earlier this month, along with the BICA members who really make this programme possible.”

One of this year’s graduates, Kai Damani, has already secured the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship which is awarded to students in the UK who aspire to a career in engineering, computing and related areas of technical design.

Another current Future Brunel, India Garrett-Cox, won last year’s Duke of York’s prestigious Pitch@Palace competition after designing an innovative app to tackle food waste with a school friend.

The SS Great Britain Trust is a partner in the government’s Year of Engineering campaign. In March it launched its Being Brunel museum alongside SS Great Britain to showcase the world’s most significant Brunel collection across six galleries.

Pictured, from left: Joe Down, Amelia Wring, Kai Damani, James Jarvis – Babcock, Saul Bhaidani, James Makepeace – Rolls-Royce, Mark Sullivan – BMT, Becky Hodge – BMT, Rachel Barrett – Babcock, Sumor Mckenzie, Sara Pritchard – Airbus, Dan Green – Wessex Water, Rebecca Bound – Renishaw, Tony Rooke – Airbus, Georgia Purnell, Richard Drake – Babcock, Chris Pockett – Renishaw, Scarlett Beeston, Alex Davis, Poppy Chambers, Hermione Taylor-Morgan, Franklin Avery

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