It is a national need to encourage increasing numbers of young people to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and it is ongoing. By doing so benefits from the exciting career opportunities engineering can deliver, Siemens' unrivalled commitment to skills development is continuing through its support of the 2016 Industrial Control competition, which has its UK final at the WorldSkills UK careers show in November 2016.
Running in tandem with Siemens’ innovative Curiosity Project – a three-year engagement programme designed to reach out to parents, teachers and students and reinforce the importance of STEM subjects - the Industrial Control competition has been created to reflect the role of a modern-day control systems engineer, and promote the standards expected of those entering the industry, along with elements of electrical and automation installation.
The 2016 UK finalists hail from varying educational backgrounds such as universities, colleges and university technical colleges, as well as those currently undertaking apprenticeships. To qualify, all entrants must demonstrate key competences, including PLC programming, fault finding and use of mechanical tools such as jigsaws, drills and tank cutters which are used to install cables, devices and control centres.
Each team in the final consists of two members who have designated roles: one competitor looks after the installation element where they install Siemens equipment such as a PLC, power supply, network switch and HMI into a control panel and demonstrate control of the Siemens SINAMICS drive unit; while the second competitor works on programming the Festo MPS station, which involves connecting a KT8 switch and fault finding on the system.
Siemens has continually altered the format of the competition to increase its complexity, as well as adding extra tasks to ensure competitors grow their skillsets.
Martin Brown, Education Development Manager at Siemens UK & Ireland, commented: “The debate around STEM-based education remains vitally important to the future career prospects of school leavers as the UK looks to develop the significant numbers of engineers we will need in the future.
Brown continued: “We are therefore delighted our continued support for the Industrial Control competition at WorldSkills UK offers a tangible opportunity for talented young engineers to display their knowledge and potential.
“The level of talent we have previously witnessed has been very pleasing to see and signifies a promising future for UK manufacturing which will require skilled, resourceful and trained engineers to help us compete in a global marketplace,” Brown said.
Adding to that Brown commented: “We encourage any young person, as well as teachers and parents, who are interested in this sector, to attend the show to learn about the many options that exist across engineering, which can lead to exciting, rewarding and fulfilling careers in the future.”
The 2015 Siemens Industrial Control System Gold Medal was awarded to Yestin Lamptey and Bradley Crisp, apprentices working for The Automated Technology Group.