New partnership to inspire the next generation of engineers

30 November 2018

Canterbury Christ Church University and Primary Engineer Programmes have launched the “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” competition across the South East.

The competition, announced by The University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Professor Helen James, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education, Enhancement and Student Experience) and Chris Rochester (UK Director Primary Engineer Programmes) at Augustine Hall, Canterbury, last week, will link primary and secondary schools across Kent, Essex, East Sussex with the University and engineering firms.

As University partner for the new South East region, Christ Church hopes the competition will inspire a generation of young people from all backgrounds to seek a rewarding career in engineering, science and technology.

Chris Rochester, UK Director for Primary Engineer Programmes said: “Canterbury Christ Church University has demonstrated its commitment to STEM education and the engineering sector. This collaboration is sure to have engaged schools, industry and those interested in following a career in engineering”.

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “The competition taps into the latest design and engineering skills that most young people have, it captures the creativity of young minds and nurtures that talent by showing them that engineering can be a rewarding and world changing career. We are delighted to be working with Primary Engineer Programmes as their partner for the South East, as well as the region’s primary and secondary schools and local engineering firms who will be providing their engineers to be interviewed and help with grading all the entries into the competition”. 

Last year the “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” competition, engaged with over 37,000 primary and secondary school students nationally to get them interested in engineering by asking the question and encouraging schools to work with engineers as they answer it. The competition concludes in the summer with a special awards event and public exhibition. One of the inventions will be selected and made into a prototype by the University.

The University, which has 16,000 students across Kent and Medway, delivers courses which span academic and professional subjects. Canterbury Christ Church University is funding the competition to strengthen its already solid reputation and track record, nationally and internationally, for delivering courses and research that address real-world issues and opportunities - equipping graduates with a breadth of relevant skills for their future careers.

In partnership with local industry expertise, the University will deliver a new industry-informed flexible curriculum in Engineering, Technology and Product Design. This new exciting partnership will benefit Kent and the wider region by addressing higher level skills shortages in STEM subjects and support the regional economic growth, adding between £7.6m to £11.4m into the regional economy each year.

“By working in partnership with local businesses and stakeholders we will be able to respond to the need for more trained STEM specialists; inspiring a generation of young people from all backgrounds and equipping them with the high-quality skills they need for a rewarding career in engineering, science and technology. The partnership with Primary Engineer Programmes is an integral part of this”. Added Professor Helen James, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education, Enhancement and Student Experience).

Notes to editors

About Primary Engineer Programmes

  • Primary Engineer Programmes is a not for profit educational organisation. Its approach brings engineering and engineers into primary and secondary classrooms and curricula. Inspiring children, pupils and teachers through continued professional development, whole class projects, and the “if you were an engineer, what would you do?” competition.,
  • “If you were an engineer what would you do?” is a UK-wide annual competition open to 3-19 year olds which asks them to interview engineers to design a solution to a problem that they have identified.
  • In the 2017/2018 academic year over 37,000 pupils across the UK entered the competition.
  • The competition is addressing diversity with a 50/50 gender split for entries. 58% of last year’s winners were female.
  • Across the UK, pupil designs are selected and made by university partners - bringing their inventions to life. These are then unveiled at awards events and public exhibitions across the country.

Canterbury Christ Church University

  • Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with 16,000 students across Kent and Medway. Its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.
  • Over 94% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.
  • Responding to a real need to recruit, develop and retain a skilled regional workforce the University has created the Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise Hub, which will open with a multi-million-pound flagship facility in Canterbury in 2020, with distributed centres of excellence across Kent and Medway. This hub and spoke model will be close to, and easily accessible, by regional SMEs.
  • The Edge Hub and the new School of Engineering, Technology and Design will offer opportunities for ground-breaking innovation and pioneering research, and support businesses, emerging entrepreneurs and innovators in taking ideas from concept to market.


*2016/17 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey



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Last edited: 25/01/2019 15:27:00