Bristol students love sharing their passion for engineering with young people. Student ambassadors are the backbone of our outreach activities. They help us deliver programmes to engage underrepresented groups with engineering as well as working with teachers and parents. This year much of our outreach activity is being delivered online, with some schemes sending participants technical kits in the post so they can follow along at home. You can find out more about our outreach work on our website.
We spoke to Elliot Scott, one of our outreach ambassadors about why he loves working with young people. Elliot is studying for an MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Since coming to Bristol I’ve taken part in a variety of outreach events, including a summer school for year 12 students, some one-to-one mentoring with young people from the local area and a work experience week with year 10 students.
The event I enjoy most is Digimakers. It takes place three times a year and is the biggest event of its kind in the South West. At Digimakers it’s really great to see kids coming back regularly and becoming more excited about engineering each time.
Why is outreach so important?
At school didn’t have many opportunities to find out about engineering-related topics. I was very lucky to have a really supportive computer science teacher who encouraged me to seek out activities. I went to the Big Bang fair which was amazing and then I took part in the Sutton Trust summer school. Those events inspired me to take up engineering. That’s why I want to show other young people the fun, hands-on side of engineering.
Working with young people is very rewarding. When you show someone something or explain how something works, the look of joy and satisfaction on their face when they complete the task, is just so heart-warming. You know you’ve made a positive impact on their day.
I also find it quite therapeutic because it reminds me of when I was attending events like these. It’s easy to go through life just setting new goals, but it’s good to have a chance to reflect and think about how much I’ve achieved and how far I’ve come.
Learning new skills
Taking part in outreach activities has really helped me improve my communication skills. I am a face-my-fears type of person anyway, but it’s given me a forum to meet people I might not have previously felt comfortable talking to. At Digimakers in particular, we explain technical concepts to anyone from age 8 to 80. It’s helped me build confidence in my technical ability and made me appreciate what it takes to be a good teacher/communicator.
It’s a really rewarding thing to do. It’s nice to think that you might have inspired someone’s future career choice. Events like these are all about the fun side of engineering.