Siemens Congleton specialises in the design and build of the drives that control motors for well known rollercoaster rides such as the Nemesis and Pepsi Max.
To build such drives, the staff and apprentices require knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to allow for expert product production. As one of the largest employers in the area, with over 500 members of staff, Siemens Congleton are a significant part of the local economy.
With a national decrease in the number of school pupils choosing STEM subjects, it had been identified that this has had a negative effect on the number of apprentice applications within engineering roles.
To enthuse and reengage students with STEM subjects, we were tasked with designing a programme with a specific focus on students utilising their engineering knowledge whilst expanding their interest within key subjects. With the long-term aim of increasing the future talent pool of local engineers within the area, the initiative also needed to increase regional and national visibility of Siemens to create a positive legacy.
100% positive feedback from the local community
88% of pupils would now consider engineering as a career
+50k reach of the competition in 2018
We created the concept of running an annual competition with groups of students from local schools that related back to the rollercoaster drives that Siemens Congleton produces. With the fundamental aim of helping to enhance their understanding of the practical aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, the competition would also include creating a business plan for their projects.
Creating the ‘The Roller Coaster Challenge’ initiative, we encouraged students to participate in teams to design and build a working model rollercoaster. We empowered the teams to make effective decisions for themselves by mentoring them to create and manage workflows and delegate tasks to specific team members. As they worked in unison to achieve their mutual goal of entering a strong rollercoaster design in to the competition, each participant was able to actively be involved in an exciting hands-on experience.
To provide support throughout the project each school had their own dedicated Siemens mentor along with a kit of parts. On each step of the journey students were able to extract knowledge directly from industry experts, both through their mentor and through tours of the Siemens factory to see first-hand the drives being built. Providing students with this direct route to aspiration influencers further enthused them into considering a career in engineering.
“The Roller Coaster Challenge is a fantastic initiative, with the target of altering perceptions of engineering as a career.”
Andy Peters – Managing Director, Siemens
Throughout the campaign, we enhanced visibility of the project through a dedicated website alongside social media and PR support. The website provided a central resource for participants and stakeholders to refer back to and actively promote the challenge to their peers. Our social media support highlighted the timeline of activity and proactively celebrated achievements of students for the duration.
For the first phase of the Siemens Roller Coaster Challenge, nine local schools in the Cheshire area participated, with two finalists from those teams taking part. The duration of the competition was over a three-month period, with finished rollercoasters being displayed and judged at an exclusive presentation evening. Following this initial launch, the Roller Coaster Challenge is now an annual event within the academic diary with participating schools around the UK.
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