The Makers Meet inspires engineering apprentice

  Thursday, 07 November 2019 10:42
3D printer. 3D printer.

Meet Ryan Edwards, one of our talented mechanical engineering apprentices, who jumped at the chance to visit and experience October’s Make UK’s The Makers Meet one day festival at the Custard Factory Birmingham which promised to set the tone for the future of manufacturing and engineering in the UK, and excite and inspire tomorrow’s young manufacturers and engineers.

Ryan Edwards, Focus SB engineering apprentice.

Supported by Focus SB, Ryan is one year into completing a Level 3 engineering qualification at Hastings college after joining our apprenticeship scheme straight from school. We asked Ryan why he chose an apprenticeship to kick start his career, and to share highlights about what he enjoyed most about the latest tech, including robotics, VR, AI, drone racing and motion capture showcased at The Maker's Meet event.

Why did you choose a manufacturing engineering apprenticeship?
In July 2018 I felt inspired to apply to join Focus SB as an apprentice straight from school after looking at the company’s website.

What did you think of The Makers Meet event?
It was interesting to look at the designs of the items on display. I was able to see how they work and ask questions to lots of different people who had lots of information to share.

Wall painting robot.

What / who inspired you the most?
The wall painting robot was interesting to see and I asked about how it worked and how it was designed. I saw some of the parts were 3d printed when I had a closer look at the design underneath the shell.

3D printer touch screen.

3D printed part.

3D printer.

What events did you take part in and why?
I took part in one of the tech events that showed an example of how coding can be used. It was explained to me how it worked and how easy it was to start learning.

CNC engraving set up.

CNC engraving touch screen.

CNC engraving.

Describe technology you’d never heard of
Litho is a company that makes a piece of hardware for Augmented Reality. The pointer sits on your finger and connects to your ‘phone and you can add objects on the ‘phone screen to make it look like they are in the real world.

Litho Augmented Reality pointer.

Litho AR pointer.

Augmented Reality town.

What impressed you the most?
The AR was really impressive to see. A town was built onto the floor next to where I was standing just by tapping and scrolling on the litho.

Is technology a major part of your course programme?
I am currently learning to use CAD software to make 3D objects on the computer.

What’s your opinion on how technology might impact manufacturing?
People may want smarter features in their products that could interact with a ‘phone or a new piece of technology that has not been invented yet. This may mean making new products that are designed for new technology.

What are your thoughts on how technology could be used at Focus SB in a factory of the future?
In the future I think drones could be used commercially to make deliveries which would reduce time to send a product to the customer as it would fly directly to the delivery address.

How do you feel traditional handcrafting skills will blend with modern/future technology?
The skills will be used to create high quality unique features and the technology will be used in machines that are used to help create the products.

What skills is it important for young people to be able to offer a manufacturing employer in your opinion?
I think it is important for young people to use new technology to be able to think of new solutions to problems. Young people must be enthusiastic to learn new skills and to learn about engineering.

Discover more about Make UK (formerly the EEF), a member based organisation for manufacturing in the UK for 125 years. The Makers Meet event was part of the launch of Birmingham Tech Week, a not-for-profit community initiative (CIC).

Why it’s crucial for manufacturers across the globe to nurture STEM employees according to Manufacturing Talk Radio.

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