Local students see how GKN Aerospace in Yeovil helps ‘makes things fly’

Published on: 24th October 2013

• Students  from four Yeovil schools take part in UK Government’s ‘See Inside Manufacturing’

GKN Aerospace welcomed twenty 13 – 14 year-old students from four local schools into their aircraft structures manufacturing facility in Yeovil on Thursday the 17th October.  The students, from Bucklers Mead Academy, Park School, Preston Academy and Westfield Academy, all had a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the world of high-tech design and manufacturing as part of the UK government’s See Inside Manufacturing initiative.  

‘See Inside Manufacturing’ is aimed at encouraging young people to see engineering as an exciting and challenging career choice.

The youngsters spent the day at the company’s facility where they toured the site and saw advanced structures for helicopters, including the AgustaWestland AW159, being manufactured and had a valuable opportunity to talk to apprentices and engineers only a few years older than themselves about their experiences working at the company. 

The schools also competed in team activities including an observation trail, a ‘pin-the-tail on the helicopter’ game and a quiz.  Points were recorded on a leaderboard throughout the day with the highest scoring team, Westfield Academy, winning a trophy that had been hand-made by the team at GKN Aerospace in Yeovil. 

Before returning to school, the pupils were invited to enter an essay competition, writing about their experiences and what they learned on the day.  The essays will be shortlisted by the Yeovil site’s General Manager, Jon Rowland and then the winner will be selected by Jon Dennison.  Mr Rowland will visit the school to present the winner with an ipad.

Claire Matthews, HR Manager explained: “This SIM event will strengthen our relationship with these local schools and help us to inspire the next generation of talented engineers and designers. Nationally we are facing a real shortage of technically qualified people with the vital skills our industrial base needs for the future.  UK manufacturers need to work with schools such as these, the government and our industry partners to ensure young people have an accurate perception of today’s manufacturing environment. Initiatives such as ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ give us a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how fulfilling and worthwhile a career with leading engineering company, such as GKN, can be.”

Among the comments from the participating schools were:

‘A fantastic opportunity to see engineering in action – with real time engineers who could not have been better or more helpful with the students – highly recommended’ Ms Dodd, Preston School.

‘A great experience of the working environment that clearly had an impact on our students. The activities were well planned and brought out the best from all attending. Thank you for a great day!’ Mr Smith, Park School.

‘An excellent and informative tour. A great insight into production engineering and a career in the aircraft industry. And the food and hospitality was excellent!’ Mr Tofts, Bucklers Mead School.

‘The students have had a great opportunity to see the practical side of manufacturing in a real, hands-on working environment. They have really enjoyed the whole day, thanks for giving up your valuable time to support our students’. Mrs Cornelius, Westfield Academy.

GKN Aerospace’s Yeovil site employs approximately 305 of the GKN Aerospace’s worldwide total of 12,000 staff and manufactures aerostructures for the civil and military aerospace markets

Pupils and staff from the four visiting schools and staff from GKN Aerospace pictured at the company’s Yeovil site.