Budding young manufacturers from Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School came out on top in a contest to find the brightest sparks in the business world at a regional competition.
The BAE Systems Make It Enterprising Challenge asked 13 and 14-year-olds to set up their own mini-manufacturing businesses and design, cost, build and market a prototype Unmanned Support Vehicle to respond to emergencies ranging from earthquakes and floods to police and fire department incidents.
On the day, teams built their prototypes and completed a series of tasks, each taking on job roles from managing director to operations managers through to finance, sales and marketing managers.
Teams were also tasked with developing a brand for their company before pitching their ideas in a Dragons’ Den-style presentation to BAE Systems managers, who played the role of members of the Joint Emergency Committee – a fictional United Nations-style body responsible for responding to humanitarian and military emergencies.
Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School was awarded the coveted winners trophy on the day, impressing the Dragons with their product, the BB2000; an amphibious rescue vehicle that would save people trapped by natural disasters using an infrared camera and tracking device.
The event was a collaboration between The Manufacturing Institute and BAE Systems.
It is part of a series of themed challenges which The Manufacturing Institute is supporting through their Make It campaign, which aims to attract the brightest and best new talent into manufacturing by promoting the sector as an exciting and rewarding career option for young people.
Stephen Melia, Make It programme coordinator, said: “The Make It campaign is designed to show the exciting, creative and varied careers that are on offer within manufacturing.
Developing the next generation of talent is essential for manufacturing companies to remain successful and this event allowed young people to learn first-hand just what it’s like to work for a global business like BAE Systems.”
Dave Holmes, manufacturing director for the Military Air and Information business at BAE Systems, took great pride in presenting the award on the day and said: “As one of the largest manufacturing employers in the country, it’s our job to get young people excited about what a career in manufacturing can offer.
“The challenge was a really inspiring one; not only did pupils get hands on making a vehicle but they learnt about the extent that manufacturing shapes our lives.
“They’ve had a taste of what designing and making the future could be like. I hope we’ve helped to inspire a new generation of manufacturers.”