Babcock International, the highly-skilled engineering services provider, has welcomed more than 50 school pupils to HMNB Devonport as part of its ongoing support of the UK’s Year of Engineering. Learning about the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), the pupils embarked on a week-long Future Engineers work placement programme – a new placement scheme developed by Babcock.
This highly-subscribed programme encourages anyone with a keen interest in engineering to get involved with STEM. Pupils aged 14-17 were initially required to submit a short paper explaining why STEM was important to them, before joining Babcock for a week of action-packed activities in Plymouth. This programme looks set to become one of the popular work placement initiatives, highlighted by one candidate’s 250 mile trip from Manchester for their spot on the course. Most of the 50 strong cohort hail from the Plymouth area.
Led by 60 of Babcock’s STEM ambassadors, and supported by countless others from across the company, the pupils had the opportunity to view first-hand Babcock’s Frigate Support Centre. This is the heart of the site where entire ships are brought in for refurbishment and refit. Next, they were treated to a tour around HMS Courageous, a decommissioned Churchill class submarine and the only exhibit of its kind in the UK.
Beginning their activities on site, the pupils were split into smaller project workgroups where they were tested on their ability to respond to a real-life engineering challenge. The students were tasked with developing a new vessel that would enable aid to be delivered to areas in need following a severe cyclone scenario. With the support of a mentor, each group investigated aspects of the hull design, propulsion systems and loading/maintenance including high-level design, planning and testing their theory before presenting to their peers and a judging panel.
Amy Bassie, HR Learning and Development Advisor and STEM lead, said: “The pupils thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities and tours that they took part in – they also commented on how useful the advice of the team was in guiding them towards their future. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event to meet even more budding young engineers.”
Will Erith, Programme Performance Director at Babcock Devonport, commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the calibre of these young people: seeing their eagerness and desire to join the profession is incredibly exciting. Babcock is proud to support the UK’s Year of Engineering initiatives, including this work placement programme, which reinforces our dedication to nurturing the next generation of talent.”
Babcock is committed to its workforce through ongoing training and development, as well as future engineering programmes and STEM initiatives. In the autumn, it will once again welcome its annual intake of apprentices and graduates.