ACE Academy Present To Alucast

Published Monday 22 September 2014

Originally Published Tuesday, June 03, 2014

ACE Academy students presented the results of their recent D&T school project to a group of employee coaches from Alucast, and the Skills Gap team with whom the school has been working over the last few months.   Participating in the pilot of the Skills Gap Programme to develop D&T teachers’ skills, the school created a project, with their industry partner, focusing on the design and casting of a candle-holder as a table centre-piece.  Following a visit to the factory, which introduced students to the casting process, the project enabled students to explore the principles of manufacturing in quantity, quality control and iterative design through casting in aluminium and other materials used in school. They were also encouraged to develop ‘soft skills’ around problem-solving, independent enquiry and self-management, highlighted by the business as necessary for their industry.

Leading the project, Graham Williams, D&T teacher at ACE Academy said “It was a steep learning curve.   Both the students and I have developed new skills.    Through the project we encountered real design problems which was challenging but positive and beneficial for the pupils.”  Commenting on the input from Alucast, he added “The coaches’ support was brilliant.  They wanted the project to be a success and saw themselves as part of it.”

The Alucast employees were unanimous in wanting to continue working with the school and enjoyed their involvement with the project.  “It was really pleasing to see how the students took an idea right through to the final product.”  Tony Sartorius, Managing Director at Alucast added “We have gained an understanding of D&T in schools, including limitations posed by timetabling and equipment.  Basic practical hands-on skills are important to our business and we are pleased to have supported ACE Academy to introduce some of these to students.”

Richard Green, commented “The Skills Gap programme provides a great opportunity for business and schools to work together, providing an insight into what really happens in school and today’s workplace, as a means to address the gaps and strengthen the links between the two.”

Teaching resources created as a result of the project are being trialled by other schools and will be available on-line later in the year.

Other partnerships in the Skills Gap Programme pilot, including Airbus working with Ysgol Clywedog in Wales and ADI with Handsworth Wood Girls Academy, Birmingham, are underway with school projects to be delivered during the autumn term.

To register your interest in the scheme, please contact the Design and Technology Association using the contact form or by calling 01789 470 007.

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