Here at LEMA we’re all about helping young people to develop transferable skills for life.
And, whilst our focus is of course on engineering, the lessons learnt here can be taken
away and readily applied in any job or sector.
So, when we opened our doors to year 10 pupils from St George’s School, Edgbaston we
wanted to help them develop some of the skills that will be so valuable to them as they
begin to navigate their career paths.
Our simulated working environment provided the perfect opportunity to get the students
involved and inspired. More than just assembly, this was a great chance to develop
teamwork, communication skills and effective leadership in a realistic production
A lesson in LEAN
After donning the obligatory High Vis jackets and replacing trainers for safety boots the
students were briefed on the task ahead. Working in pairs on our Kanban style production
line, with each pair responsible for a specific aspect of production, pupils were simply
asked to assemble the wooden cars as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The key message at this stage was LEAN and the importance of maximising efficiency and
minimising waste. Of course there were many other skills at play if the students were to
succeed at this seemingly simple task.
Teamwork & troubleshooting
With the production line initially set up to be inefficient, it was soon evident that things
weren’t running as smoothly as planned.There were a few flustered faces, furrowed brows
and heated debates as problems began to arise. And, it was here that teamwork was really
tested, leadership skills challenged and different work styles highlighted.
“It was great to see the students working so enthusiastically. Most admitted to
thinking this was going to be easy and then realising that as soon as one small
element goes wrong it has a massive impact on the entire production line.”
Paul Barron. -LEMA Trainer
A pause in production allowed the students time to reflect on what wasn’t working and
decide where improvements could be made. And, with simple tweaks to their environment,
such as moving parts closer to the assembly line and re-assigning roles, production
resumed with greater efficiency and pace.
“ With the parts moved closer everything is much quicker. Just that simple change
has made such a big difference.” Said Sarika when asked what had improved.
Transferable skills & words of wisdom
The session ended with a short discussion about the experience, the skills involved and
how the principles of LEAN apply outside the engineering environment.
“ This is all about working together and doing things in an orderly manner” Said Joshua
when asked about the crucial elements of this task. Future Marine Luis also told us
“ Teamwork is the big thing here and that is something that is needed in most jobs not
Paul finished by encouraging students to“ look at problems and find new ways to solve
them. Just because something has always been done one way doesn’t mean it’s right. Go
out there, challenge yourselves and be creative in whatever you do.”
We were delighted to work with such a great group of students and we look forward to
hearing how they apply Paul’s words of wisdom in their search for that dream job.