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Companies across Hull and the East Riding are racing to sign up to a new initiative designed to encourage young people to consider a career in engineering. Project Blyth will see businesses in the region come together to support 33 school teams in their bid to design and build an environment-friendly single-seat electric car and take part in a series of races.

Tom Croft, left, from TJC Engineering, with Imogen Chambers, 15, and Matthew Giles, 15

Each school team will be linked with an employer from the Humber region for the duration of the project which will provide workplace inspiration and support for the students, including workplace visits, mentoring through the design and build of their car, and work experience placements.

The project is being organised by Greenpower Education Trust, a charity that inspires young people to think about engineering as a career. It has been awarded funding from Green Port Hull, which is supported by the Regional Growth Fund, to enable more than 600 young people in the Humber region to take part. The funding will enhance business engagement with schools and colleges and facilitate two race events in Hull and the East Riding.

The local challenge is called Project Blyth after James Blyth, a famous wind power pioneer, and reflects the Humber’s growing status as the heart of the UK’s offshore wind industry. The Humber project is supported by major employers within the region including Siemens and the University of Hull, with 46 local firms already committed to supporting schools.

Amongst those is TJC Engineering in Ottringham which specialises in the design and manufacture of machinery for agriculture and bespoke projects for other sectors. The company is working with 20 students – 10 males and 10 females –  from South Holderness Technology College, in Preston.

Tom Croft, Managing Director of TJC Engineering, commented:

“Project Blyth is a great initiative to open the minds of young people to the opportunities available in engineering. Although many schools are pushing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, there is a real need for practical, hands-on learning. For the students being able to get to grips with a kit car is a fantastic way to pick up new skills.

Project Blyth allows me, as a time-served engineer, to give something back and pass on my knowledge to the next generation. I’ll be meeting with the team from South Holderness Technology College on a regular basis to give them guidance and support with the construction of their car. Project Blyth has the potential to inspire hundreds of young people to aim for careers in engineering.”

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council speaking on behalf of the Green Port Hull partners, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting Project Blyth. We are always looking at ways to help the next workforce generation get the right skills they need to have a long and successful career in their chosen industry. For the young people who are thinking about a career in engineering this project does just that. The practical experience they will get through Project Blyth will be invaluable.”

Greenpower believes the unique, hands-on project in the Humber will capture the excitement of motorsport to inspire young people from primary school through to university to excel in STEM subjects, helping to address the serious skills shortage of engineers faced by UK industry.

In addition to STEM specialties, the project also develops entrepreneurial, design, project management and team working skills and promotes community involvement and engagement.

Jeremy Way, CEO of Greenpower commented:

“The Humber region really has welcomed Project Blyth with open arms. We currently have more teams signed up to the project than we were aiming for which just proves how positively the project has been received by both the schools and local companies.

“All the teams signed up to Project Blyth have now received their kit cars. The hard work for the schools and partner companies starts now.”