Lead Science Teacher Jenn McEwan has actively engaged and inspired students of Doonfoot Primary School with engineering for the last 12 years. Additionally, as local authority STEM Lead covering 41 schools in Ayrshire, Jenn has gone above and beyond to provide opportunities, engagement and inspiration for thousands of young people of all ages with engineering.

The Primary Engineer’s Leaders Award is now in its 10th year.  Every year Doonfoot school (exceptionally) has engaged its pupils with the competition and celebrated multiple winners.  Jenn is passionate about engineering and in addition to whole-school engagement with the Leaders Award she strives to promote engagement with engineering repeatedly and in multiple ways throughout the school and South Ayrshire.

Prior to COVID-19, Jenn secured funding from Education Scotland for an immersive programme of work which saw every P5 pupil in South Ayrshire take part in outdoor sessions studying the engineering in nature, while engaging with positive role models from industry.  This was interrupted by COVID-19 but continued through on-line, home-based sessions.

Under Jenn’s lead and support, other members of teaching staff within South Ayrshire have benefitted from immersive career-long professional learning (CLPL).  They do this through their own experiences with engineering, shaping the way they engage young people and raise the profile of engineering from within the classroom.  Lots of effort goes into normalising genders and minorities whilst enabling a wider understanding of the variety of roles, skills and paths into engineering.

Jenn’s drive and enthusiasm shows pupils that there is no wrong path to take and that engineering is an option for all.

The Stephenson Award is for those who have been particularly successful in encouraging young people to study engineering with an emphasis, but not exclusively, on mechanical engineering. In 1997, members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers made donations to fund a Worshipful Company of Engineers Loving Cup to mark the Institution’s 150th Anniversary. Donations in excess of those needed for the Loving Cup were used to establish the Stephenson Award and further donations were received from members in later years, supplemented by a substantial grant from Rolls-Royce plc. The Engineers’ Company acknowledges the assistance of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the EDT (formerly the Engineering Development Trust) with nominations for this Award.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust) acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of poverty. 

Primary Engineer was established by Susan Scurlock, MBE in 2005 to bring engineering into the classroom through programmes and competitions designed to inspire engineers in the making.