Children from four primary schools, including Heighington, played an important part in helping a company that runs a unique project linking industry and schools to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
They took part in demonstrations, exhibitions and a talk to show how Children Challenging Industry (CCI) has helped hundreds of primary school pupils, along with their teachers, to learn at close quarters about the chemical and other industries.
Local companies including award-winning Micropore Technologies, Fujifilm Diosynth, Darchem Engineering and the Centre for Process Innovation also gave their perspective on CCI at the Celebration Event, organised by the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration in partnership with NEPIC, at the Wilton Centre, Redcar, on Thursday (June 28).
Other schools taking part along with Heighington included Newham Bridge Primary School in Middlesbrough, Bewley Primary School in Stockton and Chaloner Primary School in Guisborough.
The event was also aiming to encourage more sponsorship and support from industry and other donors to help Children Challenging Industry continue and to expand its programme across the UK.
“This is such a valuable project that is now, sadly, in danger of shrinking because of the growing pressure on so many school and company budgets,” said Jenny Harvey, advisory teacher for the CCI programme across the North East of England.
“This is a time when there is a massive emphasis on encouraging girls and boys to consider careers in science and industry so the project is particularly important.
“We are appealing to potential sponsors and donors to come forward and help us make sure CCI will continue and expand.”
The programme organises classroom activities, site visits to local industries and visits from ambassadors, all designed to give primary school children a better understanding of how their science learning fits in to the greater scheme of things.
It now involves not only the chemical sector but others including biotechnology and automotive.
Since it began, Children Challenging Industry has worked with more than 46,000 children from 1,500 schools and 1,000 site visits have taken place.
A large proportion of the schools involved are in the North East though the project also operates in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire and it is hoped to expand into the North West and Humberside.
“The response and reaction from children, teachers and companies taking part in Children Challenging Industry has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Joy Parvin, director of the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration.
“Feedback and research has proved that the perception children and teachers have of industry has been enlarged and improved.
“Children have really welcomed and enjoyed the chance to get actively involved and learn more about science and working in industry.”