As part of the collaboration, small groups of students from the school, aged from 11 to 16, take part in a range of hands-on engineering activities at Renishaw’s dedicated STEM Centre at its site in Miskin, near Cardiff. Visits to the site, where the company employs 700 people, helps expose students to a range of practical skills and raise awareness of potential careers that are available on their doorstep.
Greenhill is a school for students that have experienced considerable learning and behavioural difficulties in mainstream school, that aims to equip them with skills to achieve their true potential. As part of its science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) outreach programmes in Wales and South West England, Renishaw engages with many local schools, hosting workshops at its dedicated STEM Centres.
During the workshops for Greenhill Special School, Renishaw engages small groups of students in a range of activities, such as 3D printing, woodwork, soldering, laser cutting and coding, giving them the chance to work on practical tasks. Team members hosting the activities also provide context on how the skills apply to everyday life and give tours of the Miskin site to showcase the diverse roles in the business. The groups rotate every term, so students across the school have the chance to get involved.
“These students have often experienced challenging experiences in a typical classroom environment, so during our workshops we aim to provide them with more positive interactions using technology,” explained Sarah Lewis, STEM Outreach Tutor at Renishaw. “From our experience, as well as feedback from teachers, we’ve seen how working in a more informal setting and showing how skills apply to the real world enthuses students. Giving them hands-on activities helps improve concentration skills and the tours show them the variety of roles available at businesses like Renishaw, from machining to assembly.”
“We’re also excited to see how the partnership and working with the students has influenced the school itself. After seeing the enthusiasm of the students, the school has heavily invested in its Design and Technology (D&T) department, purchasing better laser cutters, as well as 3D printers, so that everyone has access to equipment,” concluded Lewis.
As part of its extensive STEM Outreach programme, Renishaw supports multiple local schools with visits to its South Wales and Gloucestershire sites to inspire young people to consider engineering as a possible future career option. In South Wales, Renishaw is also a partner of organisations that are similarly focused on inspiring young people, including Cardiff Rugby’s Community Foundation and Hockey Wales.