16.12.21 Liveryman Andrew Blatherwick

Inspiring the next generation of young engineers

On Monday 22nd November the Master, Sarah Sillars OBE, Chairman of the Charity Committee Eric Wallbank and myself visited The Halley Academy school in Kidbrooke, writes Liveryman Andrew Blatherwick.

The Halley Academy is one of two schools (The other being Hampstead School) that we support through the Smallpeice Foundation Trust providing STEM days, Think Kits and residential courses for students most likely to go into engineering careers. The Academy has made massive improvements during the past few years and is now building an even more impressive engineering facility for the students including new machinery, 3D printing and workshops. If this does not inspire more engineers then nothing will.

During our visit we met with Principal John Dixon, Deputy Principal Hannah Sharma and senior engineering teacher Gurdip Badesha, unfortunately head of department Tim Harrison was unable to meet us due to jury service. We also met David Coleman, Schools Co-ordinator for The Smallpeice Trust, our collaborators in driving the interest in engineering for younger people in secondary education. As a Livery Company we have supported and worked with universities for many years to develop the next generation of engineers. This latest move is to engage with students at a younger age to develop their interest in engineering, supporting them with STEM days, kits and residential courses and for the very best the Arkwright Scholarship, as reported last month (link here). This will hopefully take many of these students into university to study engineering where we will once again support them towards their chosen career goals and eventually into the Coachmakers as successful engineers. The Coachmakers is really contributing to the development and progression of future stars of our industry, bringing them into Young Coachmakers and hopefully Liverymen to foster the future of the Livery Company and our industries.

Principal John Dixon is excited about our involvement with the school and would welcome further visits from Coachmakers to talk to students and enthuse them with your achievements and careers. We are proposing to organise a visit to the school when the new engineering workshops are open in early 2022, I can assure you there will be lots of ‘toys’ to play with and some truly inspiring young people to meet as well as their teachers who welcome our support and interaction. We would also like to arrange for students to visit engineering companies to give them a real life taste of what the subject is about in all its different strands. If any Liveryman would like to join a visit to the school in 2022 or are able to offer the opportunity for a visit to your company, please do let me know and I will work with you to arrange this at a convenient time.

“Principal John Dixon’s passion, energy and drive to provide the best possible opportunities, advancements and support to their pupils was palpable,” said The Master. “The new engineering facilities under construction, will provide outstanding kit for students. I urge any Coachmaker who can offer support to get in touch with Andrew, they would love enthusiastic engineers to visit and share knowledge and experience.”

The Master, Eric and myself left The Halley Academy inspired to work with it to encourage more students into careers in engineering, and we encourage other Coachmakers to join us on this exciting journey. I look forward to hearing from you, please email me at a.blatherwick@btconnect.com.

They are, from the right: Assistant Eric Wallbank, The Master, John Dixon from Smallpiece Trust, Deputy Head Hannah Sharma, Department head Gurdip Badesha and Liverymen Andrew Blatherwick