Future Brunels graduation 2021

06 December 2021


06 December 2021


HRH The Princess Royal meets engineers and entrepreneurs of the future, celebrating the ground-breaking Future Brunels programme.

  • The SS Great Britain Trust’s Royal Patron heard how important it is to invest in inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators, with the charity’s flagship STEM education programme restarting fully after the pandemic.
  • The Princess Royal congratulated young people – joining them at their graduation ceremony on board the SS Great Britain – who had completed the five-year programme, in which they had met scientists and engineers at companies including Aardman Animations, Rolls-Royce, Wessex Water, Thorpe Park and Renishaw.
  • Inspiring future engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs is more important now than ever before, with STEM professionals developing solutions for many of the world’s big challenges.
  • The Future Brunels programme helps to inspire a more diverse future workforce, removing barriers to engineering careers and work experience.

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SS Great Britain Trust Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, met with the latest Future Brunels graduates and their families at an event on board the SS Great Britain last week.

In November 2021, two cohorts of Future Brunels graduated from the SS Great Britain Trust’s flagship education programme which offers students real-world experiences in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) during their five years at secondary school.

The new graduates are:

Lillie Anderson, Hamzah Beg, Emily Drew, Olivia Avery, Crayson Hale and Lucy Stone from Bedminster Down School. Masha Evans, Jonathan Roche, Luqmaan Abdullahi, Kasavia Smolka-Headley, Prerana Nerlige Prashanth and Arran Kinnear from Cotham School. Kial Pugh, Maria Eze and Evie Gan from Merchants’ Academy. Zahra Bashir, Esme Bunting, Ben Smedley, Sufi Scase, Dylan Perera and Aleeena Nur Ahmed from Redland Green School, Damien Thorne from Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy.

The Future Brunels programme provides valuable active learning to a young generation whose education was repeatedly disrupted during the pandemic. Rachel Roberts, Deputy Director of the Brunel Institute and Director of Education and STEM at the SS Great Britain Trust, highlighted how vital this programme is to students as we emerge from the pandemic:

“The benefits of this programme have never felt more important, giving young people extraordinary, rich and varied experiences, which spark their interest in future careers in STEM, growing their knowledge and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and maths. Over the past 20 months, we’ve kept in contact with our Future Brunels digitally. It is vitally important that we now resume visits to real-life engineering companies, with our young people meeting engineers and understanding the massive impact that STEM has on our lives.”

Launched by the SS Great Britain Trust in 2011, the programme is made possible with the support and expertise of the Brunel Institute Corporate Academy (BICA). Members of BICA include Babcock International Group, BMT Defence Services, HP Inc, Stannah, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce plc and Wessex Water.

Over 100 students have now been welcomed onto the programme, with the vast majority choosing to study STEM subjects at GCSE, A-level and beyond after graduation. The programme evaluation also heard participants describe how the programme had helped them imagine themselves doing a science-based job in future.

The students follow a programme inspired by the multi-disciplinary talents of Isambard Kingdom Brunel with modules organised around five themes:

  • The Scientist – being curious and exploring the world around us
  • The Polymath – making connections between the arts and sciences
  • The Magician – technological advancements and seeing behind the scenes of STEM
  • The Engineer – shaping the world and pushing boundaries
  • The Human-being – the impact of science and engineering on our lives and our world today.

It includes hands-on activities such as exploring the science behind the roller coasters at Thorpe Park, discovering how advances in technology shape the creative industry at Aardman, exploring Virtual Reality technology with Rolls-Royce or exploring the process of research and development with Dyson engineers.

A five-year evaluation carried out by the University of Bristol highlighted the impact the Future Brunels programme had on participants developing STEM aspirations and identities, and on the career and education choices the Future Brunels made. The evaluation showed that the programme supports participants to develop confidence in STEM, and see themselves as ‘STEM people,’ leading them to pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering.

Dr. Matthew Tanner MBE, Director & Chief Executive, SS Great Britain Trust said:

“This programme aims to provide the Future Brunel students with rich STEM role models, so that they unlock their own potential and recognise their career possibilities.”

Dave Sproxton, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Aardman said:

“We have been delighted to work with the Future Brunels, changing children’s perspectives by showing imaginative and creative uses for STEM subjects.”

Ollie-May, Future Brunels Graduate said:

“Being a Future Brunel has shaped the career path I want to follow. I now want to be an engineer. It has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities that engineering creates.”

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About the Future Brunels programme

The Future Brunels Programme is the SS Great Britain Trust’s most ambitious education programme. Launched in 2011, Future Brunels introduces young people to the impact that science and engineering already has on their lives, generates excitement about science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and encourages students to persist with their studies in these areas. Each year, 12 talented students are chosen via a selection process. At age 11, the children enter a five year programme in which they are bombarded with extraordinary, rich and varied out-of-school experiences.


Future Brunels

Discover more about the Future Brunel’s scheme here:
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