Royal Institution Masterclass Programme (autumn 2016)

Leonardo worked with the Royal Institution during autumn 2016 to deliver a Masterclass Programme aimed at year 9 students interested in science and engineering. The programme's objectives are to challenge them academically, opening their eyes to the world of engineering and encouraging them to pursue STEM subjects beyond their GCSE years.


In total, 44 students took part in the masterclasses, with representation from 9 schools local to Leonardo’s site in Luton: St Helens, Parmiters, Cavendish, Watford Boys, St Clement Danes, Dame Alice Own, St Albans Boys, Challney and Rickmansworth School.


The six classes in the series combined theory / presentation material with hands-on, practical activities, to provide pupils with a really in-depth introduction to the world of engineering.

  • The Enigma Machine: A class about the Enigma Machine where students learnt about how it works, see a working replica and make their own enigma machine using a Pringles tube.
  • Hot Stuff: A class about the importance of thermodynamics in electronic design. The students made a structure to guide air from a fan over a ‘mobile phone’ CPU to cool it.
  • A Logical Element: A class about memory in digital electronics. The students built a binary counter and join their counters together to form a digital clock.
  • Python Puzzles: A class about software algorithms and networking using Python and raspberry Pi’s. The students learnt how to use the power of distributed computing to solve a complex problem.
  • Wings: A class about aerodynamics. The students used a wind tunnel to test different designs of aerofoil.
  • Good Vibrations: A class about waves. The students learnt about waves by using sound, building up to making their own speaker from copper wire, magnets and paper.

The final masterclass was followed by a celebration event, at which the students were presented with certificates of attendance, in the presence of their parents and teachers to show them what the students achieved during the programme, and give them the chance to talk discover more about career opportunities for their children.


The Big Bang Fair

Leonardo knows that it's the ingenuity of its engineers that produces cutting-edge technology. That is why the company is involved in a wide range of events to enthuse young people about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); inspiring them to be the innovators of tomorrow.


The latest example of our engagement was at the 2017 Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, where the company offered young visitors a dynamic and engaging insight into its exciting projects. It was the sixth year that we have had a presence at this popular event, and the company’s stand once again hosted a broad range of employees, from senior management to apprentices and graduates.


Many of our apprentices and graduates are already engaged in community activities which seek to raise young people’s awareness of the excitement offered by STEM careers. Those on this year's stand discussed their involvement on technological programmes (some of which have been featured on BBC's Great British Year and Top Gear) and spoke to attendees about the opportunities that these types of careers can offer.


Edinburgh International Science Festival brings technology to life

For more than 25 years, we have collaborated with the Edinburgh International Science Festival (EISF), an event which has become internationally regarded as one of the best examples of interactive, educational entertainment in the world.


The two-week Festival hosts more than 100,000 children and young people who attended specially designed workshops that present science and engineering in a meaningful and engaging way.


Our most recent EISF stand was designed using production and assembly principles drawn from the shop floor. Children were given the opportunity to assemble Rampaging Chariot robots in the workshop area; test the resilience of their creations on an assault course, and then take part in a football tournament. By taking education into a relaxed setting, children can better understand the application of technology and how they can apply it creatively in their own lives.


Engaging with schools in the South West

Our Helicopter division aims to promote engineering in schools, colleges and universities, conducting a year-round programme of activities and career events, with around 25 schools and sixth-form colleges in the local Yeovil area, in order to encourage an interest in engineering and promote the company as an employer of choice.


We also have a key presence at the Imagineering exhibition at the Bath and West Show, displaying several hands-on engineering activities from the stand and running a 'schools challenge' competition. 'Imagineering Clubs' have also been introduced in primary schools to demonstrate various engineering concepts through a number of working models.


The company is also deeply involved with several STEM-related organisations which aim to encourage young people to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related careers.


Engineering our future

Leonardo has taken a leading role in a local project combining industry, universities and schools to illustrate in an interactive and stimulating way, the science and engineering principles behind subjects that students find most interesting.


This project was coordinated and conducted by young Leonardo employees who have successfully progressed in the business through graduate placements. It was delivered in the form of a workshop, in an informal environment, where key industry individuals offered advice and spoke on the positive societal contributions that science and engineering have made. It also provided a forum for students to discuss any issues or doubts that they may have.