Engineering challenge for young visitors to Ampthill business

Young visitors to Lockheed Martin, Ampthill
Young visitors to Lockheed Martin, Ampthill

An Ampthill business specialising in innovative technology has opened its doors to budding young engineers.

Lockheed Martin played host to a number of activities to encourage young people to consider careers in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM).

The group visited the site, which employs almost 900 people, over two days as part of a half term event provided through the Fun For Young People charity.

Employees from Lockheed Martin put the children through their paces in an engineering challenge around the Raspberry Pi, a low cost, credit-card sized computer.

Engineers Jamie Harris, Ryan Neal and Thomas Loach coached the group through basic programming techniques and then set them a technical challenge to test the skills they learned during the event.

Alice Blatchford, volunteer from the charity Fun 4 Young People (F4YP) said: “It’s been a great couple of days for the young people. Everyone at Lockheed Martin UK has been fantastic and Fun 4 Young People are very grateful for the hard work put in by all those involved. While the workshop has been challenging for many, everyone has had a great time and come away with a lot of new skills and a better understanding of computer programming.”

At the end of the week, parents employed at the Ampthill facility were invited to bring their children into the site to get a glimpse about the work their mums and dads are involved in.

This year was the biggest Bring Your Child To Work Day that the company has held with more than 50 children taking up the opportunity to watch their parents at work.

The children, aged between 9 and 16, were challenged to design and construct a rocket, powered by a pneumatic cylinder, which were then raced against each other. With the help of some of Lockheed Martin’s engineers, the group also created a turbine from an aluminium disc which they then tested in a wind tunnel.

Jack Belcher, deputy managing director, said: “It is wonderful to see just how much our young people get from taking part in events such as this. It provides them the opportunity to develop their lateral thinking and problem-solving skills, along with developing their skills in science, technology, engineering and maths to tackle the task in hand. We hope to have inspired the next generation to consider engineering when looking to choose future study options.”