Promoting STEM Skills for the Welsh Economy

Exploring new technologies

Exploring new technologies

Professor John Cave, (first right) of Middlesex University, explains the properties of smart cord to Cardiff High School students at the Smart Materials and Advanced Manufacturing seminar, co-ordinated by Careers Wales.

An after school seminar for teachers and their students to find out more about smart materials and advanced manufacturing recently took place at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Co-ordinated by Mike Fuller, education business adviser with Careers Wales, the event provided a unique opportunity for science and technology teachers and sixth form students to learn more about emerging technologies which enable the development and production of new and better goods and services. Representatives from Barry, Cardiff and Llanedeyrn High Schools and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr attended the event along with students studying for a degree in Product Design at the university.

The event included an interactive presentation by John Cave, Professor of Technology Education at Middlesex University. Professor Cave is also a Director of Mindsets (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary of the university, which supplies resources to enhance the teaching of science and design and technology in primary and secondary schools.

An acknowledged expert in his field, Professor Cave spoke about smart, modern and exotic materials and how they can be used in product design and manufacture. Those attending the seminar were able to handle the materials and were encouraged to question their uses. Examples included materials such as plastics, metals, alloys, fibres and fabrics which react to heat or electric current, light or ultraviolet light, are magnetically reactive or fluid reactive or respond to impact or sudden movement.

Jarred Evans, Commercial Director of the award winning National Centre for Product Design and Development Research at Cardiff Metropolitan University, also gave a presentation on Advanced Manufacture at the seminar, explaining how customer expectations and rapid, agile manufacturing systems are changing the way we design and produce the items we use in everyday life. Commenting on the success of the seminar Mike Fuller said: “Responses from teachers and students attending the seminar were very positive. Comments included “amazing” and “awesome,” “great speakers,” and “really informative.”

“Advanced materials and manufacturing is a Welsh Government priority sector for growth and development playing as it does a vital role in the economy with the automotive, aerospace and electronics industries being particularly strong. This seminar provided an excellent opportunity for teachers to update their knowledge and enhance their teaching of the subject as well as demonstrating to students how subjects studied at school relate to activities taking place in business and industry.”

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