BFPA member Webtec signs up for Primary Engineer

15 Aug 2017

Martin Cuthbert, Managing Director of BFPA member Webtec visited Plantworx 2017, to see Primary Engineer’s recent fluid power challenge which involved 14 year old pupils from a Leicester secondary school building a hydraulically operated robot arm.

Martin commented: “Wow – a pick and place robot arm, built from MDF wood, syringes and plastic tubing by four fourteen year olds and their teacher. What an incredible challenge and absolutely on message for Plantworx where you are surrounded by heavy machinery like this operated truck mounted crane and hydraulic excavators. The team had built the robot arm in their lunch breaks and were given free rein to design the physical structure as long as they used syringes for pneumatic or (if filled with water) hydraulic actuation. The challenge was to pick up and move a wooden cylinder but the winners also wrote out a full ‘bill of materials’, notes on how they calculated the forces and dimensions and were totally immersed in the whole design and manufacturing process. Brilliant.”

Martin added:”At a time when the UK is crying out for future engineers in the UK, and when we struggle to attract children into engineering, particularly mechanical engineering, Primary Engineer has found a way. “STEM by stealth” is their motto and it seems to work. By providing teacher training supported by industry, and a clear link between the challenge and the curriculum for CDT, Maths and Physics, Primary Engineer have a winning formula to attract new blood into engineering and better still to embed this learning in schools”. 

Webtec will be supporting local schools in Cambridgeshire adopting Primary Engineer from September 2017. If you are interested in joining them please Email

Primary Engineer
BFPA is a sponsor of Primary Engineer, and Dr Susan Scurlock, CEO and Founder recently gave a presentation to the BFPA Marketing Committee highlighting the great work and recent achievements of the organisation so far.

Primary Engineer’s aim is to provide a Universe of Engineering for schools through which all children can reach their potential. Teacher training courses, masters level research, skills, competencies, project based learning, competitions, exhibitions, links to engineers all help to ensure deep learning, impact and career awareness. Primary Engineer is a not-for-profit organisation supported by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Scottish Engineering, AMS Neve and Babcock International.

Primary Engineer is aimed at growing the next generation of engineers and has now grown to include: Early Years Engineer, Secondary Engineer, The Leaders Award and in Scotland, The Scottish Engineering Leaders Award, The Institution of Primary Engineers, The institution of Secondary Engineers, PGCert Master’s Level Course Engineering STEM Learning

This is just a taster of the exciting Primary Engineer programme and BFPA would like encourage its members to get involved. Does your company have engineers who could be released to visit local schools occasionally to share their enthusiasm and skills in engineering? To find out more visit their website to find out more