The British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) has named this year’s recipient of the Primary Engineer Rogers Knight Award as Gary Kelleher, Product Support Sales Manager at BOMAG GB, the world market leader in the field of compaction technology. The award was made at a ceremony at the BCAS Ball, The Savoy Hotel in recognition of Kelleher’s contribution to furthering the engagement of children in STEM subjects. Kelleher was instrumental in not only working with local school teachers to demonstrate how to introduce engineering concepts to school pupils, he also brought the children’s designs to life by, visiting the school during class time, to help them build concept cars which demonstrated the importance of planning, measuring, accuracy and design. His involvement had a direct impact on the number of pupils from the school entering the Primary Engineer Programmes Leaders’ Award – a competition in which children are asked “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”, then encouraged to submit ideas for new creations solving an identifiable problem. What started off as a company CSR project reaching out to the community on the suggestion of BOMAG GB Managing Director Alan Batty, soon became a mainstream interest for Kelleher. He was nominated for the Rogers Knight Award by teachers at Sandling Primary School in Kent.
Gary commented: “I’m delighted to have received this award; it was totally unexpected. I visited the school several times to help teachers and children to plan the designs of their shoebox cars, explaining the value of each element. The smiles on their faces were a picture when their cars flew down the ramp in a straight line. The cars for the older kids involved building a little wooden chassis and wiring up an electric motor to drive the car up a ramp. It required a bit more patience, but you could see a great sense of achievement in each team when it all came together. In the Primary Engineers Kent finals both teams that represented Sandling did extremely well winning several awards on the day for performance and design. The program offered a great practical experience for the kids and hopefully it will have inspired some of the them to explore engineering in the future. Chris Rochester, UK Director for Primary Engineer Programmes, creators of the awards said: “We created the Rogers Knight Award to recognise annually one engineer who goes way beyond the call of duty. Gary has delivered that in spades. His commitment to the children and supporting the teachers to become proficient at delivering STEM subjects to children, some as young as 3.”
Primary Engineer has, over the past 12 years, created an engineering curriculum that spans Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Further Education institutions. Its core aims include; the development of children and young people through engagement with engineering, the promotion of engineering careers for pupils through inspiring programmes and competitions, the development of engineering skills for teachers and practitioners as a sustainable model and working to address the gender imbalance in science and engineering. Primary Engineer is supported by BOMAG and other leading manufacturers of construction equipment. The industry’s trade body the Construction Equipment Association CEA supports Primary Engineer (and Secondary Engineer) at their Plantworx Exhibition which will be held next June.