How business volunteers can inspire the next generation

Polly Barnes (pictured), director of education at My Future My Choice, outlines education strategies supported by business partners that are making a difference in schools.

The Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust supports the My Future My Choice programme to help transform young people’s lives enabling business volunteers to deliver practical engineering activities, student-coaching and ‘World of Work’ talks and assemblies. Contact with people from a wide range of industry sectors helps young people have positive attitudes towards their own skill sets, belief in following their passions and motivation to benefit from education. The programme’s activities

cover a range of industry sectors, which link Bristol’s heritage with high-tech, entrepreneurial and sustainable futures. ‘World of Work’ talks and assemblies present stories of success, failure, career changes and an expansive view of the local and national economy, as well as advice on how to enter it. The charity engages with schools across the UK (with an emphasis on Bristol schools) and developing working relationships with motivated teachers. Practical projects respond to

school’s curriculum and focus on the aviation, maritime and lifting industries. Young people design, build and compete with working boats, aeroplanes and cranes while connecting with employees from those sectors.

22 insight MAY/JUNE 2019 Hugh Thomas, director of My

Future My Choice, said: “A young brain has a tremendous capacity to mirror and mimic attitudes and behaviours. The impact on young people working alongside industry professionals is always positive and can be profound.” The Royal Academy of

Engineering supports the Shipping 2050 project, which challenges 13 to 16- year-olds to design concept- ships for the future. This project is in line with the Ministry of Transport’s Maritime 2050 project which acknowledges that the maritime sector is invisible to the young talented people it will need to recruit. Shipping 2050 is a prime

example of how the charity has been working across education, community and business to create unique programmes. Students from partner schools visit the MV Balmoral in the Bristol Harbour to work with maritime engineers and naval architects from Rolls-Royce, BMT, BAE Systems and Babcock International as well as individuals with a background in ship building, sailing and port management. Volunteers are trained in working with teachers and young people, as well as how to devise interactive presentations to add to the project’s education resources. Shipping 2050 challenges students to synthesis



information they receive on the day into a model of their own concept- ship. Their models will be on display at the Bristol Harbour Festival in July where students, their families and volunteers will attend an awards ceremony. In addition, schools can book a maritime industry ‘World of Work Assembly’ or invite the volunteer engineers into school to support work in the classroom. The project has gained the interest of Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA) and Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) and aims to establish itself as a strategic addition to the curriculum in partner schools.

For younger children the Learning

Ships projects operates out of Engine-Shed and every year sees hundreds of 10 year-olds working with business volunteers to make model pilot cutters and caravels that race in the Bristol Harbour Festival. These workshops use card parts manufactured by Smurfit Kappa and Folio Print finishers and each school is sponsored by a business to take part with Rolls-Royce, Rowan Dartington, Bailey of Bristol and the Port Company providing the lion share of funds over the last nine years. Similar work has already

established practical aviation workshops in schools supported by

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