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£500,000 boost to digital skills training for Lancashire youth

Around 18,000 young people from across Lancashire will benefit from a £500,000 investment from BAE Systems over the next three years, supporting CREATE Education to expand our digital skills education programme, ‘Inspiring Lancashire’.

The CREATE Education Project and BAE Systems Air Sector partnership was established in October 2021, as part of BAE’s commitment to provide young people with the opportunity to be inspired by Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. As part of this, BAE made a £300,000 investment in the North West of England to boost young peoples’ digital skills and spark their interest in digital, tech based careers in the future.

Each school that has taken part in the programme, so far, has been given access to the very latest industry-standard equipment and expertise, provided by CREATE Education. They have been provided with their own 3D printer and interactive training workshops for staff and students. This technology and training is now set to expand over the next three years with the further £500,000 investment.

In the first year, each school has been supplied with an Ultimaker2+ Connect 3D printer. Teachers have received one-to-one training from CREATE Education’s expert team, ensuring that they have the confidence and knowledge to help their students continue their learning in this field.

Since the programme started, more than 100 teachers from 52 Lancashire secondary schools have received training in the use of the printers and associated technology. They have also had support to embed learning into their school’s curriculum.

3D printing STEM workshop

As a result, more than 2,500 Year 8 students have so far been given the opportunity to take part in interactive, hands-on workshops and develop their STEM and digital skills by designing and producing a 3D printed product.

Over the next three years, the programme is set to expand, bringing in over 100 Primary partners and providing even more tech to the 52 schools involved.

Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Air sector, spoke of the partnership, saying:

“As a major employer in Lancashire, we believe we have an important role to play inspiring the future generation and highlighting the breadth of exciting careers opportunities available to young people who have an interest in STEM.

“3D printing is playing an increasingly important role in manufacturing and the partnership has been an excellent way to reach and engage with more young people from across the county, teaching the critical skills industry needs for the future and stimulating their interest in STEM based careers.”

Thanks to the success of the programme and the commitment to extend the partnership, an extra 9,000 primary school students from around 100 schools across the region will now have the opportunity to take part. This will double the number of Year 8 pupils the programme aims to reach to 18,000 overall.

Paul Croft, Founder and Director at CREATE Education, said:

“It’s our mission to provide access to this inspirational additive manufacturing technology, allowing young people the chance to learn and develop the necessary skills needed for the future.

“This project wouldn’t have been possible without the support from BAE Systems and we’re delighted to have been able to work with more than 50 schools so far. We’re hugely excited by the opportunity that further investment from BAE Systems will provide.”

To help put these newfound skills and knowledge to the test, all the schools which participated in the programme were invited to take part in a challenge. Students were asked to design a prototype product (or a part for a product) that will either help improve the environment in or around a local waterway, or improve the habitat for one or more species of local wildlife.

Of the challenges, Paul said: “It’s been a joy to watch students develop their knowledge and interest in this area and our team has been delighted to play a part in helping to inspire Lancashire’s potential future digital workforce.”

“Sustainability is important to ourselves and BAE Systems and we’re keen to show young people that their new skill set can be a benefit to the environment too.”