real science website link




Note to teachers


Manufacturing industry needs your help. Companies that make things are always on the lookout for fresh talent and new recruits. But most young people and their teachers have no clear idea what working in manufacturing industry is like.


Many articles on manufacturing, and the career opportunities it offers, as well as a smaller number of video and audio recordings, can be found online. Most are not much help.


Take a look for example at this webpage on apprentices. How could that be improved?


Now have a look at an online video about textiles. (Choose Products 1 at the left and click on Wool near the bottom. Fast forward to the 5 minute mark, (you might need to hit the pause button to get fast forward to appear), press the play button and watch for half a minute.)


How cool does that look?


Now watch another minute or so of the video after things start moving faster (around 7 minutes). This is interesting and tells us a lot about how raw materials become finished products. There is plenty of good stuff about fast, impressive machines. But what is missing from the whole thing?


Take a look at how Lego bricks are made if you’re not sure. Watch the animation and see if you can spot the one place, among all the robots and automated machinery, where the work of a real, live human gets a mention.


So here’s the puzzle. Among all this fast-action manufacturing, with its sophisticated machines and gleaming new products


Where are all the people?


In that question - and the fact that the answer is not clear to anyone who doesn’t already work in manufacturing - lies one of the industry’s biggest problems. Even resources that are meant to show manufacturing industry often do no such thing. They show how goods are made by very clever, incredibly fast but largely incomprehensible machines.


They don’t show us what people do all day while the smart machines are making the shiny objects we all want to buy. We get no feeling for a day in the life of a machine operator, a manufacturing engineer, a designer, a production manager, a sales executive.


So this is the challenge:: You will give manufacturing industry a helping hand to get its message across, by showing where the people are, what they do and how they feel about the important and often enjoyable work they perform.


Here is a good example of what can be done to make the story of manufacturing more about ordinary people and less about extraordinary machines. [Select any of the Rolls-Royce apprentices to hear his or her story. When a new page opens click on the image to play the recording.]


Your mission then, should you choose to accept it, is to find and demonstrate the human face of manufacturing. This will be a bit more difficult for you than for the young Rolls-Royce apprentices. They’ve been there; you haven’t - not yet anyway.


So to get this assignment done you are going to need a few facts, a fair bit of imagination and a whole lot of teamwork.


If you are ready to Make it in Scotland, your group can choose to tackle one of two different projects:


Research and role-play an interview for a job with a manufacturing company.


Produce a marketing product that gives a real feel for what it’s like to work in manufacturing industry.


Note to teachers

Methods and philosophy: Make it in Scotland lessons are designed to be fundamentally inclusive. To this end they employ some of the simpler structures of cooperative learning.


The majority of resources on the Make it in Scotland website are addressed directly to students. This gives teachers the flexibility to choose which sections will be spoken by them and which will be read by the students.


The section on cooperative learning, however, is addressed entirely to teachers, as are occasional notes such as this, whose Back button returns a reader to the main text.

We can’t really see what the apprentices are doing or what their workplace looks like, and there seem to be no young women working there. Back


Lesson motivation