Company taps into enthusiasm for engineering

Working with a company that provides water to seven million people has inspired some students to consider becoming engineers.

Priestley College teamed up with United Utilities to give its students an engineering challenge during a three-day residential at the University of Liverpool.

Chelsea Stewart, who is studying Chemistry, Maths and Physics at Priestley, said: “I was head hunted to go onto the Engineering Education Scheme, which is really demanding and the professional report we have to write is tough.

“Weekly meetings with the engineers and the three-day residential has made me see that engineering is definitely a career I’d consider in the future.”

Priestley’s links with United Utilities are part of the Engineering Education Scheme, which challenges students to work on real, scientific, engineering and technological problems set by a local company.   It provides students with an in-depth experience in science, engineering and technology that will enable them to make an informed decision about their future studies and career.

Tutor Wendy Winnard said the scheme developed students’ team-working abilities, problem solving techniques as well as their communication skills.

“It was inspiring for them to work in a university laboratory and meet graduate engineers who they considered their peers,” she said.

“One of the engineers helping us was a former Priestley student, which showed them just what they could achieve.”

Natalie Jones, Graduate Process Engineer from United Utilities said: “It’s vital we get young people thinking about a potential career in engineering, as we need people with the right skills to run our organisation effectively in the future.”

Two Priestley teams are now preparing a more detailed report about their solution to the problem and in April will present back to United Utilities along with students from across the North West.

They are also likely to be entered for a British Association (BA) CREST Award, an honour that will impress future employers and university admission teams.