The Royal Institution successfully piloted Engineering Master Classes at Imperial College over recent years, and with financial help from the ERA Foundation is now rolling out the programme nationally.
Engineering Master Classes are intensive, hands-on, engineering workshops for 13-15 year olds. They are held in a series of six consecutive Saturday mornings, with each session covering a different topic. They are led each time by a different practicing engineer from a UK company or University; each engineer develops and delivers the Master Classes with support and training from the Royal Institution..
The school students learn about the latest developments in engineering, together with related elements of science and mathematics, using methods that make the subject accessible and interesting. Working in groups, they are given the chance to put concepts in engineering into practice through ‘make, build and test’ activities and they also engage in discussions over the implications of different technologies for society and ethics. In this way, young people can discover how relevant, important and fun engineering is, and engineers are trained in how to better communicate exactly what they do to younger audiences, out of which will come the next generation of engineers.
Teachers from the students’ schools and undergraduates from local universities come along to help during the sessions. By participating in the delivery of the Master Classes, they not only have the chance to meet working engineers but also gain new technical knowledge, teaching resources and a better understanding of engineering to take back to the rest of their students and colleagues.