HME Technology chairman Martyn Hale has recruited some more big guns in the campaign to save Design and Technology as an essential part of the national schools curriculum.
He hosted a three-way meeting with the Institute of Directors in the West Midlands and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership at the company’s Saxon Park HQ near Bromsgrove.
Mr Hale has already recruited Red Bull Racing to the campaign, receiving a strong endorsement from chief technical officer Adrian Newey OBE and team manager Christian Horner, who stressed that their success depends on the ability to recruit a steady stream of good young engineers and scientists.
And he is stepping up the campaign and adding new supporters every week in the run up to the Government’s decision on whether to retain design and technology as a compulsory part of the National Curriculum.
The Government will announce its proposed changes in the next few weeks, and these will be implemented in schools in September 2014.
At the meeting both John Rider, chairman of the IoD West Midlands, and Gary Woodman, executive director of Worcestershire LEP, stressed the need for a joined up approach from Government.
Gary Woodman pointed out that there were currently 8,000 young people, ranging from 16-25-years-old, seeking apprenticeships in Worcestershire, but only 250 places.
John Rider illustrated the complexity of the problem by highlighting successive Governments’ stop-go approach to University Technical Colleges (UTCs).
The number of UTCs in the UK is being increased by 15 to 34 but John Rider believes this is too little.
“UTCs are a great way of bridging the gap between what schools offer and what industry needs, but we need dozens more UTCs nationwide to make a difference, not just 15,” he said.
“I am absolutely convinced we need UTCs rolled out as a national network, not just piecemeal in stages.
“The focus on STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – has to be right, regardless of which political party is in power. This is an issue that is above politics.”
HME chairman Martyn Hale said: “To this end, we must continue to push for Design and Technology not only to be retained as a compulsory element of the National Curriculum but also ensure that it is work-related.”
WLEP executive director Gary Woodman said it was important that the educators understood what business wanted.
“Business has a responsibility to inform those making policy decisions what it wants from a Design and Technology syllabus, otherwise we will miss a chance to find the next generation of James Dysons and also Brits like Sir Jonathan Ive.”
Sir Jonathan Ive is the British-born senior vice president of industrial design at Apple who was recently knighted for his work on such iconic products as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.
The Design and Technology Association is currently asking business leaders to help shape the future of Design and Technology in schools, through its “New Vision for Design and Technology” campaign. In a series of panel-led debates throughout June and July they are challenging the business community to set out their vision of Design and Technology to meet the needs of 21st century Britain. (you can find out more about the campaign and join the debate by visiting: www.dandtnewvision.org.uk)
Mr Hale will continue this campaign when Stratord-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi visits Studley High School on Friday, July 6, to see the design and technology work being undertaken by pupils there under the direction of headmistress Elaine Young and her team.
He said: “We at HME Technology are delighted that the IoD’s John Rider and WLEP executive director Gary Woodman are so supportive and we had a very constructive and useful meeting which was revealing and informative on all sides.
“We must continue this campaign and I am encouraged by both John and Gary’s insistence that we take this campaign nationwide to ensure that the policy makers understand that any Government, regardless of its political hue, must have design and technology at the heart of the national curriculum if we are to continue to grow and lead the world as industrial innovators and designers.”
Founded in 1984, HME Technology’s range of products include forges, brazing hearths, furnaces, welding tables, fume extraction systems, kilns, woodworking equipment, wood dust extraction systems, metal finishing and CNC machines. It also supplies fume cupboards and ventilation systems for science departments.