Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, teamed up with apprentices from Selex ES and the broader aerospace industry last Wednesday to take part in a rocket launching competition.
Supported by the Science and Technology Committee, the competition celebrated the launch of the 2014 UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoC) which sees teams of students aged 11-18 years old design, build and launch their own rockets to exacting specifications.
The event coincides with Tomorrow’s Engineers Week – a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) initiative to showcase the many exciting engineering careers options available to young people.
Earlier this week Professor John Perkins, the chief scientific advisor to BIS published his Review of Engineering Skills. The Review, highlighting the importance of engineers to the UK economy, recommends that government, industry, the engineering profession and the education sector work together to inspire young people into engineering. The UKAYRoC is an important initiative to achieve this, and has become increasingly influential in enthusing young people about the variety of opportunities on offer in the aerospace sector. Next year’s challenge is set to be bigger than ever before, with places for 150 teams to take part.
Mr Metcalfe commented: “The event offered a fantastic opportunity to meet with some of the bright, ambitious young people that are just starting their engineering careers. The Rocketry Challenge is a brilliant way to show more students in the area what fun engineering really is, and I am keen to encourage as many schools and colleges from South Basildon and East Thurrock to enter the 2014 challenge.”
Speaking at the event, Paul Everitt, chief executive of aerospace trade organisation, ADS Group commented: “The Rocketry Challenge is a unique initiative to ignite enthusiasm for our sectors. We believe the challenge has an important role to play in galvanising more young people to take up careers in the aerospace sector, ultimately helping the UK take advantage of the significant growth opportunities available as air travel continues to increase.”
Apprentices from Airbus, Astrium, Axis Electronics, Cobham, GE Aviation, GKN, Marshall Aerospace and Defence, MEP, Raytheon UK, RLC Engineering, Selex ES and UTC Aerospace Systems were on hand on the day to support their MP team leader in the successful launch of the rocket.
Schools can find out more about the Challenge at www.ukayroc.org.