£30K RAEI funded Ingenious Forces @ Play! Public Engagement Project Outputs

£30,000 Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Grant funded PE project for engineers in Sheffield City Region to develop PE skills engaged with 510+ people aged from 3 -93 in 11 interactive events from September 2013 – November 2014 incls.

We are delighted to say that the success of our work is most clearly evidenced by Sheffield Hallam University’s STEMNET Centre for Science Education which has built on the success of our model to give young people project management skills as well as a good insight into the importance of materials engineering.

With this in mind, our PE project theme of electrical and electronic engineering aimed to:

1. Expand basic PE facilitation, consultation and engagement skills;
2. Inspire engineers to engage with target groups and general public;
3. Engage 300- 350 people; 150 people, ie, 50%, in target groups in disadvantaged communities.

Engineers shared their love of engineering with people from disadvantaged backgrounds using a range of methods such as:
a. pop-ups (like market stalls) aimed at a wide general audience;
b. Egg Drop Competition focused on cycling safety for schools and groups;
c. OCR/BTEC workshop on work, careers, employment for engineers aimed at 15-19 year olds;
d. Two public events: SMART technology, retrofitting, buildings to improve the lives of elderly people; wide general audience of 18 upwards.

Engineers’ planning/briefing sessions explored:
1. Ethos and best practice of public engagement principles;
2. How to develop their skills and experiment with kit to engage participants;
3. Advice for safeguarding with children, schools and public places;

Aggregated data for 37 engineers shows project impacts for performance far exceeded expectations. Interest in running events peaked at “quite a lot” with more appreciation in PE’s value, increased awareness of the need to consider ethics and societal impacts. Photographs of participants’ shows people of all ages had lots of fun. Feedback forms show 62% of participants wanted us back, enjoyed chatting with engineers who were “cool” and fun. Engineering is cool, hard work, fun, exciting, well paid with work all round the world.

Engineers recruited for our project worked in academia (29), industry and professions (15), with c.1-2 female engineers and 1-2 BME engineers per event., i.e. 17 female and 16 BME engineers all told.

About actionforinvolvment

We're an independent think tank, founded in 2006 to bring people in our communities together with policymakers and stakeholders. We create space often in a workshop format to pool ideas, develop networks and tackle hot topics. Since 2009, we’ve focused on the sustainability agenda such as: climate change, energy, housing, technology, transport with interest in:education, health, welfare, regulation and enforcement. Our latest project is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Grant and our next event on 27th June 2013 includes George Monbiot with other high level environmental policy makers.
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