In 1999 a group of engineers in the Midlands who were concerned at the rapidly increasing skills shortage in engineering, developed the concept of Imagineering. “A new initiative, designed to introduce 8-16 year olds to the fascinating world of engineering and manufacturing through fun, hands-on personal experience, targets the engineers of the future at a young age, develops and holds their interest and hopefully, encourages them to consider engineering as a future career.”
During 2000 Imagineering attracted support from various manufacturers and organisations and was able to put on its first Imagineering Fair at the Town and Country Festival, NAC, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. This was followed with a second successful Imagineering Fair in 2001. That year the Imagineering Foundation was launched as an Educational Charity. With such interest in the organisation and charity a small website was developed in 2001 to provide an on-line presence providing access to published material.
After the success of the Imagineering Fairs, Imagineering Clubs were developed following the successful format of Junior Engineering Clubs in Worcestershire. By the start of 2003 over 70 primary schools were in operation across the Midlands and Worcestershire providing a sustainable weekly hands-on engineering activity for children.
Imagineering Fairs also grew in popularity with the addition in 2003 of a new yearly Fair event at the Royal Bath & West Show. The Fairs, with their direct contact with the public, proved an attractive format for supporters from all sectors of industry. Invitations followed to take a presence at other public shows including the Royal International Air Tattoo, Yeovilton International Air Day and London Model Engineering Exhibition.
The on-line presence of the Imagineering Foundation was further enhanced in 2004 when a volunteer Tutor decided to build a website to allow Imagineering Club Tutors to access project material, and as a consequence put more information in the site about the Foundation’s activities as well as providing a discussion forum for Tutors too. The site served us well, however to provide the Foundation with more flexibility this current website was built in 2010 providing a new look as well as a content management system to allow all Foundation members to keep it up to date and more interactive to its membership.
The Imagineering Foundation celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2020 and continues to operate Imagineering Clubs across the UK and to promote STEM subjects at various public events in partnership with an assortment of like-minded organisations and companies.
I really enjoy Imagineering because I get to make all sorts of strange contraptions I’d never even dreamed of making before.