Cumbria Crack

Battle begins to be Top of the Form

First row (seated L-R) Ryan Weller, Georgina Parker, Joel Ormerod, Emily Truman, Jack Walker. Second row (standing L-R) Ross Brooks, Kelly Oneill, Kirstie Hawthorn, Kym Bales, Mollie Shires, Chris Squire. Absent is Robert Park.

This time last year Ross Brooks was pondering where to go after A levels.

This year the 18-year-old from Silverdale in Lancashire is one of the team organising the annual Top of the Form event, a competition which pits eight schools from across South Cumbria and Furness against each other.

Twelve apprentices from BAE Systems Submarines are leading the project along with a further fifteen who have helped write questions and manage the overall organisation of the event which tests students in science, technology engineering and maths in quick fire rounds.

A practical challenge will also see pupils use their ingenuity to win vital points.

The schools knockout competition, which began on Feb 11 and concludes with a final in April, is aimed at sparking an interest in BAE’S work in Barrow and the varied career opportunities that exist.

Ross said: “I’d looked at BAE in the past but discounted working here because I assumed apprenticeships were mainly engineering related. As I’ve learned this isn’t the case and project management is just one example of a host of opportunities that exist.”

Schools taking part this year are Furness Academy, St Bernard’s School, Chetwynde School, Dowdales School, Walney School, Ulverston Victoria High School, Cartmel Priory and John Ruskin School.

Neil Doherty, BAE’S corporate social responsibility lead, said. “The project has been running for 12 years now, with the aim of encouraging pupils to consider STEM careers as well as reaffirming BAE Systems Submarines engagement with the community.”

“The project also requires management of a budget so offers real-life experience for apprentices along with collaboration, leadership, communication and ethics.”

The final will be held on April 24th at the Coronation Hall in Ulverston. The winning prize is a Google Home Mini, £20 Amazon voucher and £400.

Applications for apprenticeships at BAE System are now open. The closing date is February 28.

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