The Harlow-based manufacturer is committed to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing subjects to young people and recently welcomed local school students on-site for a day of activities. Historically known as the leading name in school storage in over 68 countries of the world (and the producer of the iconic Gratnells Tray) Gratnells Engineering has developed into a multi-sector manufacturer capable of providing high-volume laser cutting, powder coating and bespoke metal solutions to a wide range of customers.
The company has previously supported campaigns such as the F1 in Schools’ program, the Year of Engineering and most recently, has developed key relationships with educational institutions in the local area such as BMAT STEM Academy. The business has become a Gold Level sponsor to the school this year, which will see them provide support and opportunities for students to further their understanding of manufacturing and play a role in product development.
As part of this initiative, the Gratnells factory recently welcomed a group of 20 BMAT STEM students on-site, giving presentations about the company history, providing insight into areas such as quality control and delivering experiences such as tours of the impressive facilities. The students were introduced to the different roles and responsibilities found in a typical manufacturing environment and were set an activity to evaluate a real, current prototype product using evaluation sheets, followed by making prototype designs and layouts for their own ideas.
Every student completed a feedback form at the end of the day and these almost unanimously stated the tour of the impressive Gratnells facility was the favourite part of the day. This included a chance to see some exciting Powder Coating, Injection Moulding and Laser Cutting machinery in action, producing many of the classroom tools and equipment they use in school every day. Designed to showcase the variety of manufacturing solutions Gratnells Engineering provides, students also had the opportunity to witness primary metal work, such as drilling, tapping, folding and welding; as well as foam cutting and vac forming taking place.
The importance of health and safety in the factory environment was reiterated throughout with the wearing of high vis jackets and following of specified walkways and crossings.
Dave Ramsey, Assistant Head Teacher at BMAT STEM, said: “The students had a brilliant experience and a number of them have said that they want to work for Gratnells in the future! We really appreciate all the effort the team put into the students’ experience both on the day and the impact working with the company is having on their learning. Students have been inspired and can’t wait to start using some of the ideas in lessons and in their project work.”
Chloe Winyard, Gratnells Engineering Marketing Assistant, commented: “The students from BMAT STEM were so engaged and came up with some really brilliant ideas. We are delighted the tour in particular proved popular and we hope to have inspired some of the students to consider a future career in a STEM subject. Grantells Engineering has a long history of offering opportunities to students and just last year saw three apprentices convert into full-time members of staff.”
Winyard is herself working towards a CIM qualification - further evidence she says, of her employer’s commitment to education: “By supporting my continued development, Gratnells Engineering are showing they truly believe in personal progression. If we continue to show the importance to keep learning ourselves, we hope we can inspire others to do the same.”