5 October 2015

Three budding engineers from emfec member Central College Nottingham (Central) have reached the final of the annual Made in the Midlands (MIM) awards with their inventive engineering projects.

The finalists are Chris Cahill, Matthew Smith and Bailey Parker-Shand, and the three will now wait to find out if one of them will win the overall Young Inventor Award at the MIM Awards on 22 October at the historical IET Building in Birmingham.

All three students completed a BTEC Diploma in Engineering at Central's Highfields Centre this year, and their projects included a robotic vehicle, a safety device for use with a child car seat and a new take on a BMX sprocket.

Six inspiring engineering students from Central presented their individual college projects to a panel of managing directors from Made in the Midlands member manufacturing and engineering businesses, who whittled them down to three finalists.

QTS Ltd is a wire racking company that has recently reshored its manufacturing plant to the Nottinghamshire area. Managing Director, Shaun Ingram, who was one of the judges, said:

“This event has given me a good insight into what local colleges are teaching their students for a job in the manufacturing and engineering industry. It has proven to be a fantastic experience and, as an organisation has encouraged me to work closer with local colleges in the area.”

Made In The Midlands has been running its Young Inventors programme for the last four years as a way of addressing one of the biggest issues in the manufacturing community: an ageing workforce and lack of interest of young people in the sector.

Stephen Bilson, Engineering Training Co-ordinator at Central College Nottingham said.

“It’s great to see these young people grasp the opportunity to show off their talent to local manufacturing companies. It goes to show that the skills they learnt at college have multiple applications for future jobs.”

The scheme, through face-to-face judging and networking, encourages collaboration and investment in young people and most importantly, provides a platform for students to show off their potential to real employers.

Chief Operating Officer of Made In The Midlands, Charles Addison, has been running the Young Inventors event for the past four years and has since become a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador as a way of encouraging more engagement between the younger generation and industry. Charles said:

“The Young Inventor Award is arguably one of the most important projects we run at Made In The Midlands. Over the last few decades, manufacturing and engineering has suffered and it has deterred subsequent generations not to get involved in a career making things.

"However, in recent years, as we have seen signs of engineering bouncing back and we are now entering a new age of engineering, full of variety - led by quality and design not cutting prices. To keep this going we need to encourage our students to come back, and to bring their bright minds with them!”

Made in the Midlands is a privately-run peer group for managing directors and chief executives of manufacturing and engineering firms in the Midlands.