Tidyco Ltd has brought together Derby training providers and local suppliers to help launch the Tidyco Toolbox Challenge project.
More than 20 Engineering students at Derby College Group’s Roundhouse Technical and Professional Skills College will work with students from the nearby Derby Manufacturing University Technical College (UTC) to research, design and build a sheet metal bending machine.
They will work together in small groups using the CAD design and engineering equipment available across both sites to build prototype machines.
The winning design will be chosen by a panel of the local project supporters and sponsors and the winning students will each receive a set of engineering tools. All the machines that are made and functional will then be given to the first school to pilot the scheme - Littleover Community School.
Meanwhile students from the University of Derby and a Tidyco apprentice will create a youtube style training video which will available to the schools taking part in the project to demonstrate how to make the metal tool boxes.
And Learning Unlimited, part of Chesterfield College Group, will create course work manuals for schools to support the project moving forwards.
Philip Mason, Production Director at Tidyco, explained the reason behind the project.
“I have been working in schools as a volunteer with E4E and was surprised to realise that metalwork was no longer part of the curriculum in some Derby schools.
“How can we expect the school leavers to be work ready for engineering when they are not taught the skills we want them to have?
“As a city and county where there is a large proportion of engineering jobs focused on trains, engines, cars and diggers we need young people entering the workplace who should at least have the basic skills of working with metal to include reading drawings, measuring marking out, drilling, riveting and filing.
“I believe that making these boxes and giving young girls and boys the chance to experience metal work, manufacture a functional tool box and then to supply them with a set of tools will go some way to addressing this issue.
“This project is also about enabling College and UTC students who are the engineers of the future to inspire younger people to follow in their footsteps and look at engineering as an exciting career.
“Our goal is to embed metalwork and engineering back into all secondary schools in the city. By making these boxes in year seven or eight it will mean that both an equal number of boys and girls will get the opportunity to make the tool boxes and in turn they could then choose design technology/engineering as a possible GCSE option.
“This should also help address the lack of girls taking up engineering as a future career.
Derby College Deputy Principal April Hayhurst continued: “This is an inspiring example of how businesses can and should be taking a proactive lead to equip young people with the skills and attitudes that employers need.
“By working together, we can hopefully broaden the horizons of young people of all ages and ignite their interest in engineering skills and career opportunities which are the bedrock of the regional economy.”