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 Imagineeing 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 popularty 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 Imagineeing 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 flexiility 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 Club network continues to grow and Imagineering operates a network of clubs across the UK.
I view involvement of National Grid staff as Imagineering Club tutors as a great development opportunity for our young people