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Widening participation work experience week connects under-represented aspiring engineers with industry giants

The University of Warwick's commitment to widening participation and fostering inclusivity took centre stage last week during a week-long programme aimed at inspiring thirty ten-year-old students from local schools to pursue careers in engineering. The initiative was organised by Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick and the University’s Widening Participation Team which wanted to support under-represented students that might lack confidence or support when they consider a future in engineering.

Throughout the programme, participants gained valuable insights into various engineering pathways and learnt more about research and careers at W Manufacturing Group (WMG) alongside partners like Tata Motors. WMG research and teaching staff mentored the students, providing them with a taste of what studying engineering involves through an engineering project.

Laboratory and workshop tours, facilitated by WMG apprentices and Tata Motors, gave participants firsthand exposure to the dynamic environment of an engineering workplace. The event culminated in a showcase where the students presented their projects, highlighting both their engineering skills and the knowledge they gained during the week.

The project was also supported by student ambassadors from across the university; Drishti, David, Ana, Brij, Sheerah, Diya, Michelle, Gabe and Chinmay, giving the young visitors to our campus an experience of what studying in Higher Education is like. The Widening Participation team also gave a session providing information, advice and guidance on how they might enter university study. Throughout the week, young people therefore had experiences and interactions all the way from the undergraduate level through the University hierarchy to the Dean of WMG.

One participating student said "Visiting the National Automotive Innovation Centre with Tata Motors has opened my eyes to what engineering is really like, and I would like to learn more about degree apprenticeships with the University of Warwick”

Another said "I would describe this programme to a friend as an unmissable and eventful opportunity which I would heavily recommend as it has boosted my skills and given me a greater insight into careers, apprenticeships and university as a whole which has inspired me to want to go to university.”

Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG and Widening Participation expert said “There is a clear pathway from this point to being professional engineers. There may be many routes – whether through an apprenticeship or through a taught degree programme – but the skills and experience needed for all those routes are the same: perseverance, determination, initiative, and curiosity. Having a product on display at this showcase also demonstrates plainly those qualities in the people who have made them.”

Phil Jemmett, WMG Outreach Coordinator said "This work experience model has been in our minds since 2019 and this is the first time we've been able to run it at full scale. Students have been working with our engineers on group projects all week and have gone on a journey through engineering and rapidly prototyping equipment. Each challenge links to WMG research and to challenges in the real world that could help make our planet's future more sustainable. With the skills we have seen in these students this week I have no doubt that our STEM industry is in safe hands in the future. They have been amazing."

The University of Warwick's initiative reflects its dedication to providing equal opportunities in engineering education. By empowering less privileged local students and challenging misconceptions about the field, they are nurturing a diverse talent pool that will shape the future of engineering.


Notes to editors
For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:
Bron Mills,, +447824540720

Fri 21 Jul 2023, 09:00 | Tags: WBS