Students from Swindon UTC have been learning about the hidden complexities and challenges involved in the manufacture of the humble cardboard box. A group of twelve students visited specialist packaging designer and manufacturer GWP last week and learnt about the entire manufacturing process, from start to finish.
The youngsters, who are all year 12 students, were able to get up close to the working manufacturing machinery and see first-hand the range of technical processes involved in manufacturing what appears, to the lay person, to be a simple product. Students were able to see and ask questions about pneumatics and hydraulics whilst they experienced manufacturing from the start of the process at goods in, through production at the Cricklade site, to finished items in the goods out area.
Robert Gibbs, Engineering Tutor at UTC said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to see an industrial environment with real world examples of what we have been teaching them. Being able to bring the theory of what the young engineers have been learning to life is invaluable. I’d like to thank GWP for working with us to make this possible for the students. I think the students were all genuinely surprised at how much engineering is involved in the design and manufacture of corrugated cardboard boxes.”
The year 12 pupils who were involved in the visit are all studying BTEC Level 3 Engineering. The visit to GWP supported several units of their course, such as health and safety, engineering design, hydraulics and pneumatics.
James Pedley, Operations Manager, at GWP Packaging said: “We believe it’s very important for all employers to do their bit to support the education of young people. Schools and colleges can only do so much but by investing time into projects such as this. Employers can really make a difference to the quality of education that youngsters receive and that inevitably helps improve the employability skills of young people. “
This is the first visit GWP have hosted for UTC students but following the success of this pilot further visits are planned for next year. Rob Gibbs said: “GWP are experts in engineered cost reduction and just-in-time supply so it will be very valuable for our students to learn more about these important subjects. They also work across many industries, such as automotive, aerospace and retail so the breadth of their experience will be very useful.”
Following the visit the students were enthusiastic about their experience. Lauryn (confirmed spelling) Bailey said: “It was more interesting than I thought it was going to be. Seeing how much goes into a business of that type was good.”
Fellow student James Goodchild added: “Seeing the whole process from goods in through production to goods out was useful, the tour was good and I now have a greater appreciation for a business environment.”
Swindon UTC, which is based in Churchward in Swindon, is an innovative, employer-focused, high-tech College for students aged from 14 to 19. The UTC opened in 2014 and aims to address both the divide between education and industry and the shortage of skilled engineers.
For information about GWP see: www.gwp.co.uk or telephone 01793 754444