Almost 200 secondary school students gained a boatload of Engineering experience at Nelson and Colne College’s Engineering Because event.

Engineering Because aims to introduce young people to the world of opportunities that exist within the Engineering sector through the form of a challenge, and this year the event was bigger and better than ever.

Students from 13 different secondary schools in Pendle, Burnley, the Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Blackburn with Darwen and North Yorkshire were split into 46 groups to compete in the task to construct a crane, all within a financial budget, that could smoothly lift an item of cargo onto a ship.

Winners of the Advanced category (Year 10) were students from St Christopher’s C of E High School in Accrington, while the top performing team in the Intermediate category (Year 9) were from Bowland High School, and first place in the Foundation category (Year 8) went to St Wilfrid’s C of E Academy in Blackburn.

Oliver Whiteoak, 13, from Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the task. I like Design Technology at school and I’m quite competitive – I think we worked well together in our team. I would really like to come back and have a look at the Engineering facilities at College.”

Aneesa Khan, 14, from Marsden Heights Community College in Brierfield, said: “The day was well organised and the challenge was good. I would like to do Engineering at College because I have members of my family who are engineers and they have inspired me.”

The day also marked the College’s Industry Career Day for the Engineering department, and Nelson and Colne College students had the chance to hear first-hand experience from employers and Apprentices working at companies including NorVap, Pendle Borough Council, Safran Aircelle and T&R Precision Engineering.

Damien Latham, 18, is a Level 2 Engineering student at Nelson and Colne College and attended all five employer sessions on the day. He said: “I saw the Industry Careers Day as a good opportunity to learn more about the different areas of Engineering and what roles there are within those different areas.

“It was really useful for me because I originally thought I wanted to go into Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering, but I now think that Civil Engineering is the right career pathway for me and ultimately I would like to become a Project Manager for high rise buildings and bridges.

“I’m really enjoying studying Engineering at Nelson and Colne College. Everything about it is great – the lessons, the facilities here and my tutors.”

In 2016, 27% of all UK enterprises were Engineering related, and in 2017 the UK was the eighth largest manufacturing country by export in the world.

Currently, there is an annual shortfall of up to 59,000 Engineering graduates and technicians to fill core Engineering roles, and altogether, it is forecasted that 203,000 people with Level 3+ Engineering skills will be needed every year to meet demand through to 2024.

Nelson and Colne College Engineering Technician and part-time tutor Michael Molloy, who led on organising the event, said: “Engineering Because is our department’s showpiece event. Each year it seems to grow in size, quality and reputation, and 2019 has proved that to be the case again.

“We had 185 external secondary school students plus several groups of Nelson and Colne College students involved in completing a tough challenge which tested a multitude of skills, and the standard of mechanism produced and innovation displayed was excellent.

“It was also fantastic to see our sports hall-turned-workshop buzzing with enthusiasm for Engineering, and I’m sure we saw some future engineers here today.

“Thank you to all of the schools who took part in Engineering Because for supporting it to be a success, and to our Rotarian judges whose expert contribution each year is greatly valued by the College. Thank you also to the employers for coming into College for the Industry Career Day element to the event and inspiring our current Engineering students with careers in the sector.”

Nelson and Colne College is the number one college in the country for 16-18 learner achievement and 16-18 Apprenticeship achievement, and is number one in Lancashire for A Level and vocational studies, based on progress.

If you would like to apply to study at Nelson and Colne College, contact 01282 440272 or visit