Ocado Engineering leads an inspiring Engineering Masterclass

This year Ocado Engineering is very excited to be a partner of the Year of Engineering, a year-long initiative that aims to challenge the outdated perceptions of the engineering profession, and get more young people to consider a career in engineering. Throughout 2018, Ocado Engineering will be engaging with young people interested to learn more about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

One of our first Year of Engineering-related activities came at the end of January when Ocado was delighted to run an Engineering Masterclass in robotics.

The classes, run by the Royal Institution, introduce young people to the far-reaching subject of engineering, allowing them to gain insight into the creativity, practice and relevance of this diverse discipline. A Masterclass series typically contains six Saturday morning sessions, each of which is presented by a practising engineer from industry or academia. For the Masterclass in robotics one of our talented engineers, Madhavi Kotecha, was given the opportunity to lead the workshop.

The organisers aim to invite students who had shown a propensity and enthusiasm for science subjects; for these sessions students were selected from schools in Hertfordshire. Each week students work on a practical project focusing on a different topic, learning the theory underpinning the subject and experiencing how science and maths connect to real-life engineering challenges.

Madhavi started the day by presenting for 45 minutes to over 30 excited students in Year 9 (age 13-14)about robotics at Ocado Engineering. She focused on the various areas of Ocado, such as Ocado Engineering and Ocado Technology, and explained how they work closely together for an amazing end result – the Ocado Smart Platform. She then took the students through a hands-on activity, with a focus on the students exploring the topic themselves. This involved the students building a motor powered car with a range of materials and then racing their team cars on a track!

I spoke to Madhavi Kotecha to find out more about her experience of the day.

“The students were enthusiastic, with each of them taking time out of their weekend to attend these classes. There was a good mix of boys and girls which is very encouraging as in the UK the engineering workforce is 91% male.” Madhavi said.

During the presentation, she also ran through the subjects she enjoyed at school and discussed which path led her into engineering as a career. This was particularly well received as many of the students expressed a desire to understand what qualifications you need to have to be an engineer.

“The feedback was positive and, during the presentation, I was asked a range of questions about my career such as; ‘Do you have to be creative to be an engineer?’ or perhaps the most pressing question ‘How much do you earn?’.” Madhavi said.

These are important questions as many don’t realise quite how creative engineering can be and the higher salaries associated with engineering degrees. The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found that four engineering related disciplines were in the top 10 subjects with the highest professional premium. The professional premium is the pay gap between the mean salary for those entering employment which normally requires a degree, and the mean salary for those entering employment which doesn’t normally require a degree.

If you’re interested to find out other activities Ocado Engineering is involved with for the Year of Engineering, or if you want to engage with us, please take a look at our dedicated page.

Lucy Carr-Archer, Marketing Communications Executive

george smith