We work with educational charity IntoUniversity who support young people at an educational disadvantage and give them support for educational attainment.

Engine Shed partners with the charity, Into University, with centres in Bristol South, Bristol East and Weston-super-Mare, to host school students – typically year 6 and year 9.

This is part of our Diverse Workforce for The Future programme, and IntoUniversity has been a long-standing partner. Together with our other primary partner, My Future My Choice, we hosted some 3,000 students between 2014-19.

Exposing these students to the vibrant workplace that we have and ensuring they go away with the key messages that:

  • the economy needs them (and the more diverse the better, for future productivity)
  • the workplace can be exciting, and
  • you don’t need to go to university to work in some of the exciting tech, digital & creative businesses in the area.

IntoUniversity run several programmes which we have taken part in which include Academy of Enterprise for year 5 and 6 pupils. On this programme they visit here and meet with an entrepreneur who will talk about their business and how their idea came about and some of the challenges they have faced. The pupils then work on their own problems that they think need to be solved in order to come up with a business idea, do some market research and then refine their idea.  They will then pitch here at a later date. After this they go on to produce some products and then sell these at a local market.

We have supported their alumni programme for pupils who are about to start university or in their first year to make sure they are connected to the entrepreneurial support open to them at university.

We have also supported their Careers in Focus programme for year 9s prior to making their GCSE choices. We introduced the pupils to tech entrepreneurs.

In 2018, Engine Shed was nominated in their annual awards as partner of the year.

One group we hosted, in January 2019, based in Withywood, was made up of local Year 6 students, who took part in a variety of activities over the course of a week to prepare them for further education and potential career paths.

The FOCUS week was themed around the idea of Enterprise and Business Studies. During the first three days the students took part in a range of activities in which they had the opportunity to learn more about product design, market research and branding. The idea is to give them an insight into what studying business at university would involve. On the Friday, the students were invited to the University of Bristol for a graduation ceremony and a chance to present their hard work to teachers, family, and friends.

The students received a visit from aeroponic vertical farm tech company, LettusGrow, who shared insights into sustainability, presenting a workshop on what plants need and talking about the journey from farm to fork and the skills needed to enter careers in the low carbon and sustainable business sectors.

Lorraine Fairbanks, Engine Shed’s Partnerships and Marketing Manager, said:

“We are so pleased to have IntoUniversity Bristol South visit us for the first time. It’s so important for young people to have opportunities to visit a workplace and this workshop will highlight entrepreneurship, tech, and sustainability alongside their other activities during the day. The opportunity to tour Brunel’s original Engine Shed offers some of Bristol’s industrial heritage alongside its tech-focused future. By showing them some of our amazing SETsquared Bristol companies, we hope the student will be inspired to follow paths to entrepreneurship.”

IntoUniversity is a national organisation with two centres in Bristol based in Old Market and Withywood. It offers local students after-school homework and extra-curricular support, as well as school holiday programmes like The Academy of Enterprise, which is supported by Engine Shed.  IntoUniversity Bristol South is run in partnership with the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, the University of Exeter, and The Queen’s Trust.

Imy Franklin, IntoUniversity Bristol South’s Primary FOCUS coordinator, said:

“It is fantastic to be able to bring our students to Engine Shed. It really puts the rest of the week into context in an inspiring and welcoming environment. Over the course of the week, we aim to encourage our students to think about their futures and what they might want to do after they leave school. This week, we have particularly focused on the idea of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Being in such a dynamic and exciting place, where a range of different enterprises are operating from, really brings the theme to life.”