Virtual field trip informs pupils on opportunities in manufacturing

Ahead of UK National Apprenticeship Week the Alcoa Foundation and Discovery Education hosted a live, virtual field trip for pupils worldwide 

Secondary schools from across the UK and beyond took part in a landmark live broadcast on Friday 4th March, for an exclusive look at careers available in today’s advanced manufacturing industry in celebration of National Apprenticeship Week.

The event was organised by Alcoa Foundation and Discovery Education and was broadcast from Alcoa’s aluminium rolling mill in Kitts Green, Birmingham with the event streamed live into classrooms around the world.

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Suzanne van de Raadt, Programme Development, Alcoa Foundation said: “As the manufacturing industry continues to evolve and expand, we know the importance of offering resources such as the Manufacture Your Future Live Virtual Field Trip to spark students’ interest in this dynamic industry.

It’s the first step in preparing tomorrow’s workforce with critical skills needed to fill the increasing demand in this field. We are proud to showcase talented members of Alcoa’s UK team as they share their stories and connect classroom STEM skills to their advanced manufacturing careers.”

The broadcast gave students the chance to tour a sophisticated manufacturing plant without leaving their classrooms. Home to some of the most advanced manufacturing technology in the world, the Alcoa Kitts Green plant produces rolled aluminium products for aircraft, highly demanding industrial applications and high performance Formula 1 racing cars.

Pupils taking part saw first-hand how Alcoa’s products are developed, and heard how Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) classroom subjects link to real-life manufacturing at the plant. They also saw how apprenticeship schemes can provide routes into some of the most exciting jobs in advanced manufacturing, and met engineers who have risen through the ranks as apprentices.

Alcoa engineers were joined on the day by pupils from Grace Academy, a specialist business and enterprise school in Solihull who undertook the field trip in person. These students had the unique experience of interviewing Nick Boles MP, Minister of State for Skills, at the Houses of Parliament, which formed part of the live broadcast.

The Manufacture Your Future Virtual Field Trip builds on the success of Discovery Education’s 2015 Magna Carta and 2014 Remembrance Day live broadcasts to schools. The 45 minute lesson is available to watch online now at and


Debbie Carter

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