Engineering their future careers

Posted: 12-12-2019 - 124 view(s)

Students at Bede Sixth Form have just completed the College’s first extra-curricular programme focussed on offering students insights into the engineering industry.

Some of our Aspiring Engineers learning about hydraulic systems and circuits at NETA Training


Created in collaboration with engineering training provider NETA Training, this unique enrichment opportunity has been designed to offer students considering future careers in engineering the chance to take the theory they’ve learned in the classroom, and turn it into practical experience.

Running alongside their first year of study, students who are studying physics, maths, and chemistry have attended eight dedicated ‘Aspiring Engineers’ sessions at NETA’s purpose-built training facilities. The sessions have covered practical skills in mechanical, hydraulic and electrical systems, and included informative talks on renewable energy and health and safety. The group have also completed their own projects focussing on a current growth sector within the Tees Valley.

Dave Thompson, the teaching lead for Aspiring Engineers, said: “The programme was designed to give students insights into what engineering is and to support them with their UCAS applications. This is the first time we’ve ran the programme and it has all gone really well – the students have been engaged and fully committed to the journey.

“Their last task now is a presentation to our senior managers and governors, sharing the work they’ve done on their projects and what they have learnt about a real-life challenge in the wind energy sector.”



Bede student Tom, who is hoping to work in aerospace or aeronautical engineering in the future, applied to join the Aspiring Engineers programme to develop his knowledge in different engineering disciplines.

He said he has found the sessions invaluable: “The sessions on hydraulic engineering and metalwork, two totally new topics of study for me, meant I could gain a new perspective on the industry as a whole. Learning the detailed theory and fundamentals of the field of hydraulics and how to put a system together on NETA’s training equipment was a valuable part of the programme.”

Hayley, currently studying physics, maths, and chemistry said: “From this project I hoped to gain hands-on experience and to find out how the theories we have learnt about in the classroom link to real-life situations.

“My favourite part of the programme was hydraulics, as it was very interesting to find out how they work and are used in everyday life. I enjoyed building our own hydraulic circuits and seeing how we can control the flow of oil to different parts of the system.”

Noah also expressed how useful it has been to gain real-life insights into engineering: “We managed to touch on many sectors in engineering and learnt many techniques that can fit into all aspects of the field. What I found best was seeing how what I learn in the classroom in my subjects, particularly in maths and physics, fits into the industry and world of work.”


Pieces from one of the practical projects, which involved using different engineering skills


As well as the hands-on training and practical sessions, our students had the exciting opportunity to visit working sites Wilton Engineering and EEW OSB, which included an overview of what the companies do and a behind-the-scenes tour.


Students being shown around Wilton Engineering by the CEO, Bill Scott OBE


Tom, who is studying history, maths and physics, said: “The visits to Wilton and OSB were certainly the highlights of the programme – being put into a real industrial environment was particularly informative due to being able to see first-hand the heavy-duty, large scale work being carried out.”

Bill Scott OBE, CEO of Wilton Engineering, who led our students on a guided tour of the site, said: “We had a great day with the students, who were really engaging. It’s important that we inspire the next generation and give them the chance to be the best that they can be.”

Onsite at EEW OSB


Thomas, who is studying computer science, maths and physics at Bede Sixth Form, said: “Both tours were brilliantly informative, and quite inspiring to say the least, especially the fact that the CEO of Wilton came to speak to us in the same place he spoke to Boris Johnson a week earlier!”

“Overall the Aspiring Engineers programme has given me a much better idea of the range and scope of engineering. I’ve learnt new skills and met some brilliant people – I’d recommend it to any student with any sort of STEM aspirations!”

The Aspiring Engineers programme will be available next academic year to first year students who have an interest in engineering and are studying physics, maths and chemistry.


If you’d like to find out more about enrichment opportunities here at Bede Sixth Form College, please get in touch on 01642 373250 or 

Interested in studying here? Check out all of our courses here on our website