The MTC has long supported the Imagineering Foundation, a charity whose aim is to introduce young people to the exciting world of engineering, science and technology through fun, hands-on activities and personal involvement.
We talked to Imagineering’s Admin and Finance Manager, Toni Fletcher, about her role supporting the charity’s after-school clubs, how MTC Training’s apprentices are working with the Imagineering team to increase their impact, and what Imagineering and apprenticeships have in common.
What is your role at MTC Training?
I’m employed by MTC Training and seconded to the Imagineering Foundation, where I’ve looked after the after-school clubs for seven years now. There are strong relationships between the two organisations’ boards and of course there’s an obvious link in our focus areas because the after-school kits are all based in engineering and technology.
I come from an HR and administrative background and this felt like a good opportunity to get into something a bit different with a charitable focus. I’m responsible for all the general admin for the clubs, from getting the schools on board, to liaising with the head teachers and volunteers, arranging kit deliveries and managing the invoicing.
Tell us a bit more about Imagineering
Imagineering is a charity which supplies engineering and technology kits to after-school clubs. Our activities are aimed at Key Stage 2 children (typically 7- to 11-year-olds). We’re a national charity, working with schools across the whole UK, and we even used to send some to a school in Germany!
We send out the kits, and then the children build them, following the instructions we provide and with the help of a teacher or one of our engineering volunteers, and they can take their finished projects home with them. There are quite a few different kits, they all have mechanical elements so they move and do interesting things. For example, there’s a robot duck, a hydraulic arm which is really clever and pumps water, and a wind turbine, it’s good to showcase a green energy focus as well. The kits are designed to get them interested in engineering by having a go themselves.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy seeing the results from the children and hearing how much they’ve enjoyed it – we get brilliant feedback from the schools. It gives children a chance to see a different side of education too, getting their hands in, and they love seeing what they’ve made themselves. They can take it home and show it off – a real achievement. My daughter has tried one of the kits and loved it too, we did one of the more simple ones because she’s only 9!
How is MTC Training supporting Imagineering? Why is this important for local businesses and people?
Imagineering and MTC Training both share the same aim of inspiring the next generation to explore a career in engineering. A team of apprentices from MTC Training have remodelled one of our kits to be more sustainable, and to improve the design and packaging, and schools are starting to welcome more visitors, we’re hoping to arrange for some apprentices to support some of the local after-school clubs too.
For local businesses, what we’re doing is so important because the children we’re working with have the potential to become the future engineering workforce. A lot of our volunteers are retired engineers, so it’s lovely that they’re passing those skills on too.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship?
Like Imagineering’s activities, apprenticeships also encourage more hands-on learning, and apprenticeships give young people the training, skills and knowledge they to build a career, learning all along the way.
To learn more about the Imagineering Foundation and find out how you can get involved, please visit www.imagineering.org.uk.