More than 60 pupils from local secondary schools took part in a See Inside Manufacturing open day at Schaeffler UK's automotive engine component manufacturing plant in Llanelli, South Wales.
This event was part of the UK Government's See Inside Manufacturing initiative, a nationwide 'open days' programme to help improve the image of UK manufacturing, with the objective of attracting the brightest and best talent into a career in manufacturing and engineering. The event at Schaeffler UK was arranged in conjunction with the local college, Coleg Sir Gar, and was facilitated by Schaeffler's own apprentices and toolmakers.
The open day, which took place on 21 November 2011, was divided into a morning and afternoon session in order to accommodate more children. In the morning session, 30 Year 9 pupils (aged 13-14) attended from three local secondary schools: Amman Valley, St John Lloyds and Bryngwyn. In the afternoon, 32 Year 9 pupils visited the plant from three other schools: Queen Elizabeth High School, Coedcae and Glan y Mor.
Talk and walk
On arriving at the plant, pupils and teachers were welcomed by presentations from Plant Director Roger Evans MBE and from Schaeffler UK's Training Manager Donna Williams-Bevan. The pupils and teachers were then given a guided walk around the factory.
After the guided tour, the pupils were split into teams in order to compete in an Engineering Challenge. Led by Schaeffler UK's toolroom technician Gareth Gravell, this challenge involved pupils having to correctly read an engineering drawing before devising a suitable method for assembling an idler hub bearing. The winner was the team that correctly assembled their idler hub in the fastest time.
The Engineering Challenge was followed by a Schaeffler quiz, which tested the pupils' ability to recall information provided in the Schaeffler presentations. Pupils also had an opportunity to ask further questions of senior managers and apprentices.
Also in attendance on the day were Alex Robinson, Automotive Components Section Manager at The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), and Paul Bullock, Industry Liaison Manager at the Welsh Automotive Forum.
Roger Evans commented: "The open day has been a tremendous success for everyone involved and we look forward to holding similar events in the future. Giving school children the opportunity to visit a real manufacturing plant, to ask questions of apprentices working there and to see what it is really like working with the latest modern machinery in a dynamic, fast-moving manufacturing environment is essential if we are to attract more young people into a future career in this industry."