Thousands of Burnley primary school pupils are to be taught ground-breaking engineering skills to create a skilled workforce for the future.
Every primary-aged child in the town will get the chance to develop vital skills to help nurture the next generation of world class engineers in the town.
All 30 primary schools in the borough will be part of the pioneering “Making It in Burnley” scheme which will see youngsters learning hands-on skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) alongside industry professionals in the classroom from September.
Mark Crabtree, the founder of Burnley’s world-leading sound engineering firm AMS Neve, believes it will spark an interest and develop aptitude among youngsters which will boost Burnley’s advanced manufacturing industries for decades to come.
Mr Crabtree, who runs his multi-million pound technology firm empire from Billington Road and is funding the scheme, said: “We are very excited about this.
“I had a great education in Burnley and I grew my business in Burnley and I know this will be great for pupils in Burnley.
“We need people who know what it takes to fire the enthusiasm of a child . I am one of those people – I know why I was inspired to do what I did as a kid.
“If I hadn’t then AMS Neve would not have been here.
“We have provided 5,000 person-years of employment in the town and I would love to see a whole raft of AMS Neves bubbling up from children that are rooted in Burnley.
“If we plant the seeds now we can grow our own businesses in Burnley.
“We hope this will help inspire the next Steve Jobs or Mark Crabtree.”
Burnley and Padiham pupils will get the chance to design and build everything from yachts and moving vehicles to levers and pulleys in the hands-on “Making It in Burnley” scheme.
Teachers at each school will be specially trained to deliver the lessons to pupils alongside professional engineers and industry figures from firms around Burnley.
An organisation called Primary Engineer, which has ready-made courses, training and materials for teachers and pupils, has been brought in to work with the 30 schools.
Mr Crabtree, who masterminded the project with members of the Burnley Bondholders and the Prince’s Charities, wanted to put the focus on youngsters at the crucial formative stage instead of during secondary school or apprenticeships.
“It is learning through play but they will pick up a dramatic amount of engineering know-how. If they don’t do it by primary age it will be too late at secondary age to pick up basic engineering skills when you are 13 or 14.
The scheme was launched at a big event at Towneley Hall along with 31 primary schools, four secondary schools and 21 businesses.
Springfield Primary School headteacher Sarah Bell, who helped launch the scheme, said “This is an exciting opportunity to link with engineers and to use their knowledge and expertise to develop vital engineering skills for our children.
“Engineering is a big part of Burnley and it is exciting for the town that so many schools are interested in developing these skills. The activities are all hands-on and creative, and lots of fun, but will also support us in developing skills across the curriculum, especially maths and science.
“We hope that our children will be inspired by the engineers they work with and that we may develop future engineers through this project.”