It should be plain sailing ahead for the Scottish Engineering Leaders Award, a national competition which encourages pupils to invent engineered solutions to solve real world problems, after Clyde Marine Training announced their sponsorship of the award.

As the UK’s leading maritime training provider, engineering is an important area of focus for Clyde Marine Training (CMT), with cadets who gain engineering degrees and other qualifications forming a core part of their recruitment process, and in turn becoming vital to the ongoing maintenance of the British Merchant Navy.

The programme is organised by Primary Engineer, a not-for-profit organisation who work to promote engineering skills and careers in schools across the UK. The Leaders Awards competition was launched in 2013 to help teachers and pupils see and experience the creativity in engineering, and has already enjoyed great success.

This new partnership and injection of funding will allow the competition to grow from strength to strength, and already 13% of all Scottish schools have registered for this year’s competition – the highest number to date.

The format of the competition sees pupils interview engineers and then inspired by them, use engineering to solve a problem. The children illustrate how their inventions will look and work and all entries are marked by engineers or those working in the industry. Students at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde select the winning entry to be turned into a prototype each year.

Commentating on the partnership, Colin McMurray, Managing Director of Clyde Marine Training stated: “We are delighted to become involved in such an innovative scheme. It is vitally important for the growth of the Merchant Navy, and indeed the economy at large, that we inspire the next generation of engineers, and we recognise that this Award is a fantastic way of doing this.”

“And the timing of our involvement is particularly apt as we enter the government-led ‘Year of Engineering’ which aims to celebrate UK engineering and offer young people a positive experience of engineering. I personally am excited to see the ideas generated by the children across Scotland who I’m sure will make us proud.”

‘’Introducing STEM subjects to primary age children through this initiative will capture their imagine as to the type of engineering and technical roles they can aspire to in the Maritime Industry of the future, either on board vessels or shore based.’’

Lise McCaffery, Regional Director for Primary Engineer, welcomed the support from CMT. “Scotland has a rich heritage of inventors, engineers and manufacturers. This competition helps pupils from all backgrounds see that they can be part of Scotland’s engineering future, and it’s wonderful to have Clyde Marine Training’s involvement in the competition moving forward.”

Previous winning entries to the competition include the Trolley for the Elderly, designed with a basket that can raise and lower, and the Automatic Sock Sorter, giving each pair of socks a unique magnetic bar code so they pair automatically in the washing machine. The Trolley for the Elderly is now on display at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Dr Susan Scurlock, CEO and founder, expressed her delight at the partnership. “Primary Engineer are thrilled that Clyde Marine Training will be supporting the growth of this exciting and inspiring competition. The competition shows us the huge potential in young people to identify and solve problems in the world.”

CMT join the Royal Air Force, Scottish Engineering, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, WEIR Group and the University of Strathclyde as funding partners of the competition who recognise the value of engineers inspiring children and, conversely, children inspiring engineers.

Registration for this year’s competition is now open and the last date for entries is 29th March. Schools can sign up via www.leadersaward.com

You can also watch a short animation that shows the extraordinary journey of 2015 winner Aidan McCann’s ‘Trolley for the Elderly’. His prototype was manufactured by MEng students at the University of Strathclyde in 2016 and was unveiled in 2017 as part of a display at the Glasgow Science Centre.

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