At Parker, the idea of sharing our passion for engineering is nothing new. But how we share that knowledge and contribute to training the next generation of engineering students is looking different all the time. Case in point: The JCB Academy of Staffordshire, UK.
The first university technical college in the UK, The JCB Academy is a specialist school for 14-19 year-old students who are interested in engineering and business. Initially, Parker was planning to donate a hydraulic training rig to support the academy’s fluid power curriculum. But, as the work progressed, Parker UK team members and academy leadership soon identified an opportunity to do far more.
Together, the partners sketched out ideas for a whole new kind of learning space, complete with large-scale equipment and interactive elements to explore how hydraulic, electrical and fluid power works.The training area includes a snooker cue with cylinders to show the flexibility of fluid power, a piston push test that illustrates Pascal’s Principle using a hydraulic jack, a hydraulic nutcracker that demonstrates how force is applied and more.
“It’s so different to anything I’ve seen before,” said Georgia Turner, a former student at The JCB Academy and one of the first people to see the finished project. “I think it’s an amazing facility – we’re taking the theoretical-based knowledge, which is so fundamental for engineering, and actually giving it a practical application.”
Part classroom, part testing grounds, the new space enables students to experience first-hand the practical applications of what they’re learning. And it’s those practical applications that Parker believes are the key to supporting young students and inspiring them to consider a career in engineering.
In the five years since Parker partnered with JCB Academy to create the hydraulic training area, more than 3,000 students have leveraged the space to learn about various engineering principles and experiment with the equipment. Over time, The JCB Academy has also established relationships with many world-class companies who themselves now employ JCB graduates. Academy alumni are often invited to visit the campus and share stories of their career path and guidance with students.
“For many years, there has been a severe shortage of young engineers in the UK. But things are starting to change, as young people start to see the potential rewards of working in this industry,” explains Philip Ingate, training manager, Parker UK and Ireland. “And of course, Parker wants to encourage and support that emerging talent, through partnership and our own company policies.”
Indeed, the partnership with JCB Academy aligns with Parker’s goal to help improve math and science education, and our focus on using Purpose as a platform for growth, change and positive impact.