Schools wanted as manufacturers launch challenge

By John Corser | Business Picks | Published:

Nine manufacturers from across the West Midlands are joining forces to help inspire the engineers of the future at a special event next month.

Youngsters at the first Design and Make Day

The Manufacturing Assembly Network which is made up of eight sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency, is putting on its second Design and Make Day, a unique opportunity for Year 11 and Year 12 students to spend a day getting first-hand experience of engineering, problem-solving and working as part of a team.

Nine schools have already signed up to take part and the collective is now looking for another three teams from the Black Country to join, making it almost twice the size of last year’s eight-hour challenge.

Teams of four pupils will be invited to tackle the demanding brief that will involve designing and making a mechanical device using just basic tools and materials.

They are offered support from apprentices from the MAN companies and encouraged to develop their ideas through trial and analysis. The devices are then tested by a suitably qualified panel of engineers, with prizes awarded to the schools under three different categories – efficiency, innovation and manufacturing.

The winning schools will be presented with a 3D Printer from Create Education, who will be supporting Design and Make for the second year as part of its commitment to promoting Science Technology Engineering and Manufacturing (STEM).

Austin Owens, Managing Director of Grove Design and the inspiration for the challenge, commented: “Last year was a phenomenal success and the feedback we’ve received from pupils and teachers has encouraged us to do as much as we can to engage young people who may be considering a career in engineering by showing them some of the skills that will help them develop in this field.

“Everyone is talking about the skills shortage and bemoaning the Government for not sorting it out. We prefer a different approach; taking back control and using our own expertise and experience to create a fun day that will hopefully spark the imagination and get young people thinking about a possible career in manufacturing.”

He continued: “You can see the students visibly change during the day and the confidence they get from seeing their ideas put into action. It’s a great atmosphere is great and especially rewarding to see our own apprentices and graduates getting involved and mentoring their peers.”


The MAN Design and Make Challenge will be held on July 10 at the Warwick Manufacturing Group, giving pupils the opportunity to witness a world class university campus and technology hub.

MAN, which enjoys more than £75m sales and employs over 800 people, can offer every engineering discipline imaginable, including automation and control systems, fabrication, forging, plastic injection moulding, PCB development, precision machining and high-volume pressings.

Its membership includes Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT, Grove Design, Kimbermills International, Mec Com, Muller Holdings and PP Control & Automation.

For further information visit and to register a place contact Grove Design on 01544 387126.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.


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