Two thousand visitors, 45 schools, 70 exhibitors - and a supersonic car - the sixth Get Up To Speed festival broke records this year.
The event at Magna boasted a huge roster of attractions designed to turn youngsters on to a career in the sector including the Bloodhound Supersonic car which is set to break the land speed record and hit 1,000mph.
They included Rolls Royce Aircraft engines, electric and hydrogen vehicles, rally and formula racing cars, hands-on simulators, virtual reality experiences, a giant digital Scalextric track, mind-controlled vehicles and the fastest blind driver in the world.
It was organised by local charity The work-wise Foundation, with Very Creative Ltd, RiDO, Creative Sheffield, Parker President, The Manufacturing Forum and founding sponsors Tata Steel and IMechE - and it was all privately funded.
AESSEAL plc, IMechE Engineering Training Solutions, Santander, Highlander IT and Telecoms and Made in Sheffield also came on board as event sponsors.
Now thought to be the largest event of its kind in the North of England, the day gave young people and teachers an insight into the careers in engineering, manufacturing and technology.
John Barber, of the work-wise Foundation, said: “Employers know best the world of work, they know best what skills and aptitudes employees need and they know how best how to inspire young people about their future, so it makes absolute sense that local companies within and supporting the sector come together to provide this incredibly engaging, informative and fun careers event.”
Peter Ingham, chairman, IMechE Yorkshire Region, said: “A principal objective of the IMechE is to promote engineering as an exciting and rewarding career for young people and help to alleviate the predicted shortfall in skilled engineers in the near future.
“Therefore, the Institution were pleased once again to support this unique Get Up To Speed event which brings engineering companies together with young people to raise awareness of the wide variety of engineering career opportunities in the region” Founding sponsor Mick Hood, HR Director for Tata Steel, said: “Tata Steel has supported Get up to Speed ever since its inception and continue to see its importance in raising awareness among young people, teachers and parents of the exciting opportunities on offer by choosing an engineering or science-based career.”
The work-wise Made in Sheffield Innovation Competition sees local companies ‘buddying’ with local schools, presenting them with a real business challenge, which they work on before presenting to a panel of judges.
This year’s competition winner was Firth Park Academy partnered with Magnomatics Ltd with the prizes being presented by the Master and Mistress Cutler and former England and Man Utd footballer Lee Sharpe.
Firth Park teacher Dan Skelton said: “The students have reacted so well to their achievement, it really goes to show the confidence and impact a program like this can offer when you have a team that work hard and value the importance of it. What has impressed me most is the students ability to digest what was a very technical project brief.”
On their visit Nick Woffenden of Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School, said: “It was a thoroughly enjoyable day for the students and teachers alike and perhaps more importantly certainly acted as a catalyst to their enthusiasm for engineering and technology. We’ll be back next year!”
Jackie Freeborn, co-founder of the work-wise Foundation, said: “Next year’s Get Up To Speed is already being planned and will be hosted once again at Magna on 26th April.
“It is a huge amount of work, but worth it to see so many young people, schools and parents working with local employers. It’s a fantastic thing for the region and particularly for Rotherham and as Chair of Women in Business for the Barnsley and Rotherham I was also delighted to see so many girls attending the event”.
The event also attracted a large number of VIPs including The Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mayor of Rotherham, Master and Mistress Cutler and Lord and Lady Mayoress of Sheffield.
Anyone interested in getting involved in next year’s Get Up To Speed event on Wednesday 26th April at Magna please contact John Barber or Janice Richardson at the work-wise Foundation. John@work-wise.co.uk; Janice@work-wise.co.uk