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Torfaen Schools Competition Launched to Find Youngest Engineer

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A competition has launched within Torfaen to find its youngest engineer. School-aged children are being encouraged to submit drawings/designs for a chance to see theirs created into a piece of public art by a team of local steel engineers.

The Torfaen Training Eco-system project team (Pro Steel Engineering, the firm behind the red steel dragon overlooking the M4, Torfaen Voluntary Alliance, Coleg Gwent and Torfaen County Borough Council), supported by the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund, is on a mission this summer to help inform younger generations of the career options and opportunities the world of engineering can present.

The design entry can be of anything; from something abstract and free drawn, to something more intricate and recognisable like an animal, a bridge or even something iconic related to Torfaen.

Schools within the area have been sent downloadable entry forms but parents and guardians can submit online on behalf of their children too. Children can submit as many entries as they like before 5pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021. A panel of local people will decide on the winning entry, and over the summer holiday break, two trainees currently at Pro Steel Engineering will be tasked with bringing the design to real-life.

Trainee engineer Daniel Long said:

“I joined Pro Steel as a trainee because it gives me the best of both worlds; I’m able to earn a wage while learning on the job. I’m so excited to see what the kids of Torfaen design and then to bring it to life, this will be my biggest test to date, I’ll be sure to do it justice!”

Aimi Morris, Operational Executive Officer, Torfaen Voluntary Alliance said:

“We’re thrilled to be launching this exciting campaign locally. We know how creative children can be, and we hope the prospect of seeing something they’ve drawn end up as something they can actually touch will inspire them to give it a go! It’s amazing how entering the world of engineering can lead to jobs in design, construction, project management and much much more, and we look forward to our trainees having the opportunity to work on this.”

Richard Selby, director and co-founder, Pro Steel Engineering said:

“This is naturally a cause close to my heart and one I can’t wait to see the result of. Engineering offers travel opportunities, good rates of pay and the prospect to work on projects of huge scales including stadiums, bridges and aeroplanes.

“While this competition is a little bit of fun to take part in locally, I really hope it can start conversations within schools and households about what engineering is all about as there are a lot of misconceptions about it. The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10 per cent and according to STEM Women, the percentage of female students studying engineering and technology degrees made up a mere 19% of the total students between 2017 and 2018. This is something we really want to address positively here in Torfaen and Wales, so that the next generation is part of Wales’ biggest infrastructure projects.”

To access a downloadable form and enter (in English or Welsh), please visit https://tvawales.org.uk/competition/  Closing date for entries is 5pm Tuesday 20 July 2021 and the winning design will be announced during the first week back at school in September. Entries can be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Torfaen School Competition, Torfaen Voluntary Alliance, Portland Buildings, Commercial St, Pontypool NP4 6JS.