RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers, has helped to inspire schoolchildren and the public of Wigan by allowing them to experience the latest emerging technology and equipment used in industry, in a collaborative event held today by Wigan Council – awarded Digital Council of the Year in 2016 by Digital Leaders for its ambitious work towards a true digital borough. Also partnering in the event was the CREATE Education Project, from 3D printer and tool developer Ultimaker.
The digit-fest event, held in Wigan town centre, was attended by students from four Wigan Borough schools: Lowton Church of England High School, Byrchall High School, Wigan UTC and Westleigh High School – and also drew interest from local people. The highlight of the day was the RS Live Innovation in Motion truck, offering a highly engaging platform for young people to learn about engineering and technology through various activities within its interactive display zones. The truck has been touring academic organisations in the UK since its launch in June 2016, with the aim of inspiring the engineers of tomorrow.
Ultimaker was also in attendance to showcase its 3D printing technology as part of its CREATE Education Project – Ultimaker’s commitment to helping schools navigate the minefield of 3D printing and learn how to best introduce and integrate it into curriculums.
Alison Hutchings, assistant global category manager – 3D Printing at RS, said: “It was fantastic to bring the truck to Wigan in honour of their Digital Council accolade – assisting them in meeting their mission to tackle digital exclusion and improve connectivity in the community. The event was hugely successful and all those who attended were truly impressed by the demonstrations and the experience of having hands-on access to some of the latest technology used in the industry today.
“The future of engineering in the UK is wholly reliant on inspiring tomorrow’s engineers. Events like this that aim to influence the uptake of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects are essential to that mission. The RS Live truck is designed to engage all audiences: young people from primary school age to university undergraduates and anyone with an interest in technology. Today’s result was testament to the truck’s appeal, attracting interest from members of the public as well as the schoolchildren on scheduled visits,” added Alison.
Councillor Joanne Platt, cabinet member for children and young people at Wigan Council, said: “I’m really pleased that we managed to get this truck to Wigan and the pupils were clearly inspired by all it had to offer. STEM subjects are really important and offer fantastic careers. Unfortunately there’s not much gender diversity in the field with research showing that girls tend to have negative views on STEM careers. I hope this event changes their mind and encourages them to reconsider their career options.”
Paul Croft, director at Ultimaker GB and founder of the CREATE Education Project, added: “This has been a great opportunity to provide our local area with a chance to see and get hands-on with cutting edge technology used in classrooms and in industry. We believe a key part in people developing 21st century skills is through having access to the technology. This collaborative event helped to make this possible for local people and we will continue to offer support to the schools and community groups via our open source CREATE Education Project.”