Outreach events and activities

Teenagers at a UWE Bristol outreach event looking at a model aeroplane

Working closely with schools and colleges and industry, we offer inspiring and exciting events throughout the year to enhance and complement your curriculum. Our activities span engineering, design and mathematical subjects with the aim to inspire future graduates and develop their career paths.

Children as engineers

Paired Peer Mentors in Primary Schools

This project ran in 2014 as an innovative new way to enrich undergraduate education as well as giving primary school children the experience of being an engineer. Supported by the Engineering Professors’ Council, the project was organised by the Science Communication Unit and the Department of Education at UWE.

Undergraduate student engineers worked closely with student teachers to design and create exciting engineering activities for primary schools across Bristol. The paired peer mentors were inspired by the EU ENGINEER project materials to help children experience being engineers, while also improving their own public engagement skills. The model is currently being evaluated to see if it can be rolled out nationally.

Higher Education STEM days

The Department runs between five and six STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) school activity days in May and June each year, together with colleagues from Science. STEM days take place in schools and aim to reach the entire Year 8 cohort of that school.

Aims for the STEM activity day

The aims of the STEM activity days are to:

  • Inspire pupils with respect to STEM subjects
  • Encourage pupils to aspire to university to study STEM subjects
  • Promote future careers in science, engineering and maths
  • Connect with and enhance the school STEM curriculum

Depending on numbers, either two or three sessions will run, each lasting 100 minutes. UWE Bristol student ambassadors will demonstrate the equipment and run through the concepts connected with their stand to a group of 10-15 pupils every 15 minutes. This is repeated six times during each session.

Feedback from attendees

Pupils obviously enjoy it as much as we do, as seen from comments from the pupils at Redland Green school and St Bedes:

"We went around the school hall and experienced a range of wonderful workshops. I enjoyed every workshop there. Not one workshop outclassed another, so it was well laid out and explained. At every workshop I learnt something new so that was great, and every teacher at every station made sense and was good.”

"I really liked that day. I learnt a lot about astrophysics, bubbles and other stuff. I thought it was very educational and a lot of fun. It was better than lessons. I thought the bubbles one was great fun when they made a big bubble around you and the gyroscope when you have a bike wheel and you spin it fast and it makes you spin on the chair. I’d like to have another day like that.”

"I learnt that maths and science can be fun!"


"Making Aerofoils fly was great, really interesting."

Host your own STEM activity day

If you are a school interested in hosting a STEM activity day, contact Alison Hooper.

Engineering Design and Maths (EDM) event day

The EDM event day is an annual event, usually held in the third week in June. Year 12 A Level Maths pupils are invited to come to UWE for the day to:

  • experience some taster sessions in mathematics and engineering
  • hear from recent graduates about careers which use mathematics and engineering
  • listen to a plenary talk from an inspiring speaker on applications of mathematics. Recent speakers have included Simon Singh, Kate Bellingham and Paul Shephard.

Schools interested in sending a group of up to 15 pupils to the EDM event day should contact recruitment.outreach@uwe.ac.uk.

Faraday Challenge

The Department hosts a regional round of the IET's (Institution of Engineering and Technology) Faraday Challenge annually. The IET Faraday Challenge Days are held at schools and universities around the UK and have proved to be enormously popular with teachers and students alike.

The IET is one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. As a charity, they are committed to the advancement of science, engineering and technology and to encouraging young people to study the STEM subjects and to consider careers within the engineering and technology sectors.

What's involved

The Faraday Challenge Days give students the opportunity to research, design and make solutions to genuinely tough engineering problems. Each IET Faraday Challenge Day involves six school teams, each made up of six 12 -13 year olds, ideally two students from Science, two students from Design and Technology and two students from Mathematics.

Competition winners

The winners of each event are awarded a prize for each team member and a trophy for their school. The top three teams from across the UK get an all-expenses paid trip to the National Final to compete for a cash prize of up to £1,000 for their school.

The winner of the 2013 round at UWE, The Cotswold School, came fifth in the national competition in 2013.


The Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics runs a residential summer school in partnership with Headstart, part of the Engineering Development Trust and a programme endorsed by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The course provides a project-based learning experience around BLOODHOUND, the amazing UK-led engineering initiative which aims to achieve 1000mph land speed record.

What's involved

Working in teams, the students spend the week learning about the BLOODHOUND project and building their own scale model ‘high speed’ racing vehicle. By exploring the design and structure of the supersonic car and the challenges facing the BLOODHOUND team, the students get a great introduction to a range of engineering disciplines, their applications and what it would be like to study them at university.

During the week the students have the opportunity to meet with local employers, talk to recent graduates and explore a range of opportunities available to them on completion of Year 12. The week ends with a race-off with time and endurance trials. The winning team is awarded a trophy and their individual names will feature on the fin of the actual BLOODHOUND car!

The course has been running since 2011 and receives excellent feedback from those students who have attended. In 2013, more than 90% of the students said they would study a STEM subject after attending the course.

See the 2013 Headstart Summer School in action on YouTube.

For more information about upcoming Headstart courses at UWE, contact recruitment.outreach@uwe.ac.uk.

Mathematics Masterclasses

The Wessex Mathematics Masterclasses Committee (renamed from Bath and Bristol Mathematics Masterclasses) organise Mathematics Masterclasses at Bath and Bristol. The Bath series is held in the spring term whilst the Bristol series is split over both the autumn and spring term, with four classes held before Christmas and two after. The Masterclasses are run in association with the Royal Institution.

About the Bristol Mathematics Masterclasses

The Bristol series is funded by UWE and the University of Bath and has been held at UWE since 1996.

The Mathematics Masterclasses are aimed at talented and enthusiastic young mathematicians in year 8 (12-13 years). The classes are designed to show not only the many ways mathematics can be used and applied but also that the subject can be fun and interesting. Pupils will be exposed to areas of mathematics which will not necessarily be covered at school.

What happens in a typical masterclass?

In a typical masterclass, the lecturer would start by talking to the pupils for up to half an hour setting out a problem, the pupils then move to smaller tutorial classes, supervised by a schoolteacher to work on a problem. They would come back to the lecture theatre half-way through to extend the problem/start on something new and return to their tutorial rooms. Finally, the lecturer would sum up the masterclass and give the pupils a further worksheet which they can take home to do in their own time or to show to their teacher at school. Refreshments are provided.

How to take part in the masterclass

Attendance at the classes is by invitation only. In early October, local schools are invited to nominate 4 - 6 pupils from this age group to attend. We typically have 90 - 120 pupils attending per series.

Masterclasses are held on Saturday mornings from 10:00 - 12:30. Each series comprises six masterclasses led by lecturers at the Universities of the West of England, Bath and Bristol and by local schoolteachers

Contact recruitment.outreach@uwe.ac.uk for further information.

Fun Maths Roadshows

Fun Maths Roadshows are offered to schools and colleges throughout the region and are delivered on the school/college site. Roadshows are typically run for groups of 30 to 70 pupils from Year 8 to Year 11 and sessions last up to 1.5 hours. If feasible, it is possible to run two one-hour long sessions, one after the other.

The Roadshows use mathematical activities that although graded according to age, are intended to be 'all-ability' activities that are challenging yet enjoyable. The range of interactive puzzles incorporates a broad range of mathematical ideas. Pupils are encouraged to work in pairs in an informal environment, with the emphasis on success. Participants receive a certificate of achievement.

How to take part in the roadshows

Roadshows generally take place in the autumn term and dates are communicated via e-mail. To be added to the circulation list, please email Dr Emily Walsh at Emily3.Walsh@uwe.ac.uk. Please note that roadshows are very popular and early sign up is advised.

Women into Engineering

Engineering is an exciting and well-paid career, with high graduate employability. Engineering graduates from UWE have gone on to work for companies such as Rolls Royce, Airbus, Dyson, Jaguar-Landrover, Babcock and BAe Systems. The skills needed for engineering obviously include technical skills and a strong mathematical background, but they also include skills such as communication and team-work as well as creativity and problem-solving.

Currently, there are many fewer female engineers than male engineers in the UK. We do not believe that women are any less capable than men of becoming engineers, and so we offer opportunities for girls to find out more about how their skills could be applied to engineering and to excite them about the possible careers open to engineers.

Women into Engineering sessions involve meeting current female students and recent graduates as well as hands-on activities to show the range of types of problems engineers can solve.

Contact recruitment.outreach@uwe.ac.uk if you are interested in attending a session.

This year we ran a Women in Engineering Summer School to give Year 12 girls the opportunity to explore engineering in an open, friendly and interactive environment.

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