Harlow College is the best in England, claims Robert Halfon MP

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SPOTLIGHT reporter Lois Barker investigated what goes on at HAMEC and discovered that its facilities are some of the best in the country.

THE HARLOW Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Centre (HAMEC) is a cutting edge centre that provides students across the region with training alongside high-tech employers.

With the support of Essex County Council and South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Harlow College has been able to open an £11 million building that gives students the chance to learn all about aerospace engineering, advanced manufacturing, electrical engineering and much more.

Robert Halfon, Harlow MP, who visited the centre recently said, “This is the most remarkable centre you’ll ever see.” He added that he believed Harlow College was the best in England and there was a need for more centres similar to the HAMEC.

“It gives hundreds of young people the chance to learn engineering and manufacturing and climb the education ladder,” he said.

The centre also provides amazing opportunities for those studying at HAMEC. Formula 1 has invited the students to the National Finals of its competition. The requirements ask them to design and build  the fastest F1 car. They must also  design a pit stop and gain sponsorships to help with funding their projects.

Students and Tutors of HAMEC.

When our journalist Lois spoke to the students about the potential of winning they expressed a lot of excitement stating it was a rare experience with one stating “We get to travel to Singapore and loads of other places and we’re lucky to get this opportunity.”

Tom Stokes, the Head of HAMEC explained that he was looking forward to this experience and had faith that his students would  do well. he added that he was grateful to HAMEC supporters who donated equipment so the students could benefit from the most modern machinery.

Female engineers are a rare find but Harlow College is trying to tackle this. Tom believes that targeting secondary schools with the STEM project  could be too late and that primary schools could be a better way of getting young girls interested in manufacturing.

As one Level 3 Manufacturing Engineering student Tierney Johnson put, “Just do it! There’s always a cry out for females here.” Miss Johnson found interest in this subject in Year 10 after doing work experience at Airbus Aeronautics Company with her dad, which she says, taught her a lot and was really enjoyable. There is even a chance that this company will be the sponsors for her F1 project along with her group members, Sam Wilson-Daines, Aiden Thorne and Holly Lofthouse who hope eventually to work with companies such as Ford and Network Rail.

Holly and Tierney both agree that the college and centre have been more than welcoming to female students and feel they have never been doubted by staff or their peers.

There is a general consensus amongst the group that more centres like this one need to be opened as it is rare to find somewhere with the same funding or the opportunity to build similar places.

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