Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
Rapid Electronics is continuing to offer huge support to the next generation of engineers through its educational programme in 2018.
One of the UK’s leading distributors of electronic components, cables and connectors, electronics and tools, the Colchester-based company also excels with its educational resources.
MD James Bates is excited by the work being undertaken by Rapid in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector:
“We are developing new ways to support, invest and influence the development of STEM in our schools and its ability to equip our future engineers with the right skills for the UK manufacturing sector. As we have both education and industry as customers, it seems reasonable we can add a lot of value in the discussions, innovation and initiatives to drive the changes required.”
The ‘Airgineers Drone Racing Challenge’ is the latest project that Rapid are looking to engage secondary school-age students with, set to launch in the spring.
Bates explains: “We’ve worked with the CAD software company Autodesk to develop the resources to support the Challenge. The next step is to find industry sponsorship for this programme to help schools across the UK to get involved.”
INVEST Essex is putting its weight behind this and Rapid’s other initiatives through its knowledge of the county’s business landscape. The business-support provider and investment promotion agency began working with recently-appointed MD Bates last autumn with a view to strengthening ties to its established prime markets – educational programmes - as well as developing routes into new markets.
Bates feels the relationship with INVEST Essex will be useful in supporting Rapid’s future growth.
He says: “We are keen to use INVEST Essex’s expertise to understand more about our local businesses, their challenges, and the opportunities that exist through collaboration.”
Rapid is also continuing, and expanding, another of its STEM programmes in 2018, the ‘VEX Robotics Competition’.
“We are just launching VEX V5,” says Bates, “a brand new control system which is faster, smarter and more powerful, specifically designed for education. Last year we were proud to be nominated in the British Engineering Excellence Awards for our work with VEX and the fact that there were just as many girls as boys that took part in the VEX IQ Challenge for the first time.”
Alongside the ‘Airgineers Drone Racing Challenge’, this is another big year for Rapid in their pursuit of inspiring the future of engineering.
“Our educational programmes are very important,” says Bates. “We have a number of sole supply arrangements in which we provide a single route to market with associated technical support, warranty and care packages. In addition our experience is vital to help teachers or volunteers who may not have the experience, confidence or knowledge to run technology lessons or competitions. Although education represents only one-third of our business, the expertise required to support the education sector provides us with a strong value proposition when you apply these competencies to a manufacturing organisation.”
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