Throughout the United States, we see a constant push in our classrooms that steer students toward pursuits in the medical industry, engineering arenas, and financial fields. Though these areas are all noble pursuits, students are being presented with limited options that may not accommodate their individual skills. What options do students with skills like math and problem-solving abilities, keen attention to detail, and a love for working with their hands have? In order to cater to students who have mechanical and technical abilities, schools should actively promote shop and machinery classes to allow students to explore less standardized options. We at Leading Edge Industrial know the joys that come with working with machinery, so we have provided tips on how to get students to consider mechanical pursuits.
Provide Unique Projects
In order to get students interested in the technical field, a shop class should offer ready-to-cut projects – at a minimum. Interesting projects can facilitate pride and spark interest when a student actually creates something they can show off and use. By completing these projects, a student will learn valuable skills like computation, material usage, tolerances, and machinery control.
These projects can range from functional structures, like creating a mini bridge, to fun games, like puzzles, or even pieces of furniture, like benches. By making a physical item, students will be given the opportunity to actually apply the diverse skill range that they learned—leading to an increased fascination with machinery pursuits and opening hearts and minds to the world of design and fabrication.
Find unique ready-to-cut projects here.
Promote Mechanical Competitions
To capture attention, and keep the machinery industry as a fulfilling career option salient in student’s minds, mechanical competitions should be promoted throughout schools.
A popular mechanical competition is the Student Manufacturing Design Competition. This competition promotes ingenuity and creativity by having students design and then manufacture a creation of their own. Other popular competitions include the IAM3D Challenge and the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge.
When promoting these competitions, schools should stress the soft and hard skills that students can learn by participating in these challenges, as well as the résumé boost these competitions will provide.
Actively Endorse Shop/Machinery Classes
In order to enroll more students in shop classes, they must first be aware that these classes are offered. Once aware, students will join due to the technical and mechanical skills offered, as well as the promise of working with their hands. To help entice more students to take shop classes, schools can take the following actions listed below.
- Invite Guest Speakers: A distinguished individual from the machinist field may be all it takes to get a student excited about the manufacturing industry. These speakers can provide job description information, as well as a personal insight into what a mechanical job entails.
- Team up with Local Manufacturing Companies: Part-time positions could be offered to students at local manufacturing companies, so they can gain experience and classroom credit. Local manufacturing companies can also provide talks to students who may be interested in pursuing a mechanical or technical career.
- Provide Collaborative Projects: By working with a group of like-minded learners, students can create interesting items while learning valuable skills from one another by each creating a separate piece of an overall assembly.
- Integrate Classes: Shop classes should be promoted in math, science, and design classes because many of these students already possess the skills and interests that would make them successful in the machinery industry.
- Provide Interesting Projects: To help promote shop classes, fun projects should be incorporated into the curriculum (such as creating a guitar on a CNC machine) to help raise buzz and interest for machinery classes.
- Involve Parents: By involving parents and showing them the benefits that can come with a mechanical or technical profession, they can help encourage their children to consider mechanical pursuits. Internships and scholarships that are also available in the technical field should be stressed because they can help jumpstart a student’s educational career.
To increase awareness and normalize the mechanical and technical fields, posters and bulletin boards should be utilized throughout hallways that stress the benefits and skills that can come with a machinist profession. To help persuade students to take shop classes, the following messages should be used.
- Math and Science Skills: When constructing the posters, make sure to express that math, science, computer, and design skills are hotly sought after for machinist occupations. This will appeal to students who possess these abilities and are looking for unique careers. These posters should also use buzz words that express project and group-based learning to capture the attention of students who like to design and create.
- Express the Hands-on Aspect: Many students crave a break from the monotony that’s often present in lecture-based classes. By promoting a hands-on course, students can feel in control of their own learning.
- Promote Strength Finding Aspect: Stress the benefits of learning new skills like machine programming and control. Since shop classes are very hands-on, students have the opportunity to find their unique skills.
- Express Project Satisfaction: From designing a product, to programming a machine, to then creating it, a student will have the satisfaction of producing an item from start to finish.
Since we all have unique talents and abilities, mechanical and technical fields should be promoted and encouraged in schools to appeal to students who have math and science skills and love hands-on activities. At Leading Edge Industrial, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities that can arise from a machinery profession—contact us for further tips with involving schools in the mechanical fields.