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Students worked in groups to build beams from 'chocrete'.

Mott MacDonald encourages students to engineer their futures

Year 6 students from The Spinney School and Teversham Primary School joined up with Mott MacDonald to learn more about the engineering industry and start thinking about some of the roles available to them within STEM.

Over the course of the day, students took part in several activities inspired by the work carried out on a daily basis at Mott MacDonald. By giving the students an opportunity to apply skills learnt at school to a real-life project, Cambridge LaunchPad hopes to inspire them to think more about how they can develop this skillset as they move through their education and career pathways.

Katie Whitmore, Year 6 Teacher at Teversham CofE (VA) Primary School, said:

“The days organised by the LaunchPad team are important to the children, as they provide opportunities for working in a team, as well as for thinking outside of the box in a fun, practical way. Following the day, many of our children have expressed interest in wanting to work for the companies that we have visited!”

Volunteers from Mott MacDonald, many at an early stage of their career, were on hand to assist the students through their various tasks. In each of the sessions, students were given ‘Mott MacDollars’ to teach them about the importance of working within a budget. Teams chose how to spend their money and once materials had been purchased began to build their projects. Students constructed: water filters for a town in Africa; energy efficient houses that were tested under heavy Siberian rain and structural beams made of ‘chocrete’ that had to be strong and stable. Some beams managed to hold an incredible weight of 18kg!

Megan, Head Girl, Year 6  from The Spinney School, enjoyed her visit to Mott MacDonald:

“I enjoyed the designing aspect in the Goldilocks proof house and how everyone used their individual talents to put something into the design. I learnt how STEM was involved in all of the activities.”

For many Cambridge LaunchPad ambassadors, leading sessions with students is something far removed from their day job. Giving them the opportunity to be involved with events like this enables employees to further their professional development by strengthening skills such as project management, leadership and communication.

Rob Nettleton, Resourcing Advisor at Mott MacDonald, said:

“It’s such a pleasure to welcome the Year 6s into our office. Our staff are truly passionate about the work they do, and having the opportunity to transmit that passion to such an enthusiastic group, and hopefully inspire them to pursue STEM in their education and future careers, is a real privilege.”

Throughout the day, students are also taught about the importance of these ‘soft skills’ that make up the Cambridge LaunchPad core values. Teams from each school that showed the most improvement of these attributes across the day were then invited to attend an additional educational trip that will be held at the end of the academic year.

Molly Askham, STEM Outreach Co-ordinator from Form the Future CIC, said:

“It’s so important that students have the opportunity to experience days like this so that they can see for themselves the wide range of job roles that are available to them in their futures.”

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Our goal is that all young people move successfully from education into employment. As a social enterprise, we are reliant on grants and corporate funding in order to work with the schools across Cambridgeshire. Even the smallest donation helps us to provide careers inspiration for every child. Click below to find out more about what your donation could do for young people in your community.