Primary Engineer

Earlier in the year we reported on the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders’ Awards (Issue 2, 2018), which at the time, aimed to top the engagement of more than the previous year’s 23,800 entries from children into the competition. Well, the results are in and the good, no, great, news is that in 2018 academic year, Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders’ Awards attracted entries from over 37,000 children aged between 4 and 18 from across the UK. That’s 37,000 young minds who have tasted the impact that engineering can have on the world. The objective – to inspire them to want to become the engineers of the future.

Behind every successful educational project there is usually an army of silent volunteers, and the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders’ Awards is no exception, some members of which stem from AMPS engineering community. They give up their time, sometimes as little as one hour, but more, to do their bit to change the world.

One of the most engaging elements of the programme is the development of a prototype of a winning design by engineering students of the partner university. In the East of England, for instance the question: ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ Was posed to school children. Eighteen bright sparks were selected as winners from over 2,100 entries from across the region. The competition, which was supported by Stevenage-based firm MBDA, featured winning entries including The Ball Returner, Easy Bath and Parrot-Guard 2000. One winning entry from this year will be developed into a prototype by students from the University of Hertfordshire.

Dr. Rodney Day, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology University of Hertfordshire said: “At the University of Hertfordshire we help students to develop the engineering skills needed to meet industry’s needs, and this prestigious competition is helping to do the same. As part of the competition pupils spoke to a panel of engineers about the reality of working in the role and were asked to consider what they would create if they were an engineer; they had to identify an issue, invent a solution, and draw it. I was very impressed with the outstanding level of creativity the pupils displayed in their submissions, which also included a high level of technical acumen – something that will help them develop into talented engineers in the future.”

Dr. Susan Scurlock, creator and founder of Primary Engineer said: “The entries across the region were inspirational, creative and selfless – not one of the pupils said that their invention would be created to make them money. They all observed a national or personal issue and found a creative engineering solution to it”.

Andy Baker, HR Lead, Early Careers Recruitment and Leaders Award judge, comments: “The competitions have been an enormous success and MBDA recognises the fantastic opportunity that the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards offer to address STEM skills shortages across the UK. The awards enable us to reach out to 2,300 primary schools and 575 local secondary schools, giving us and the engineering industry as a whole the ability to promote engineering as an exciting and rewarding career choice to thousands of budding engineers. A number of our engineers have been fortunate enough to have been interviewed by local pupils and have been part of the judging panels and we have been impressed by the standard of entries this year. It’s reinforced to us that the future for engineering in the UK remains incredibly bright.”

The 2019 Primary Engineer & Secondary Leaders’ Awards were launched in September with great applause from the industry. Primary Engineer is keen to engage with engineers from the electrical generation sector and once again encourages members of the AMPS to step forward to judge or mentor schools local to them. You can find out more and sign up by visiting