A NEW scheme encouraging children to think about and get involved with engineering is being launched in Cumbria this week.

An event to launch The Leaders Award will take place on Thursday morning at Carlisle Lake District Airport.

Around 80 Cumbrian schools have already expressed an interested in taking part in The Leaders Award competition this academic year.

The Leaders Award is run by not-for-profit educational organisations Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer and is being supported in the county by University of Cumbria.

It is for 3-19 year olds asking the question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

Pupils are set a challenge to identify a problem in the world and use engineering to solve it.

Every year, young winners are picked and their innovations exhibited to share the creativity and problem-solving skills of young people.

The university lines up alongside a series of high-profile firms and organisations to support the programme across the UK.

Others include the scheme’s new national partners Facebook, Network Rail and Gatwick Airport, all of which were unveiled at a showcase event at the London airport last summer.

Prototype ideas exhibited included a self-adjusting sink that can be lowered or heightened to help those using it, and a shirt with magnetic fastenings for those who struggle with buttons and zips.

Nigel Smith, STEM co-ordinator at University of Cumbria, said: “We’re delighted to become the official university partner, and lead partner, for the programme here in this area.

“In our lead role we’re being supported by the Sir John Fisher Foundation, Stobart Group, the county’s Primary Heads Association and Cumbria Association of Secondary Heads to see this implemented in local schools.

“Primary and Secondary Engineer programmes already operate in large parts of the UK and now we’re helping to facilitate its growth in Cumbria providing new opportunities and experiences to schools and young people.”

More than 49,000 school children across the UK took part in the engineering competition in 2018/19.

The Leaders Award is the latest STEM initiative introduced to local schools this year thanks to partnerships developed by University of Cumbria.

Other schemes include the FIRST LEGO League, Festival of Biology, and the Festival of Chemistry.

Find out more about The Leaders Award at https://leadersaward.com/

An event providing specialist training for 130 professionals from across Cumbria whose work it is to protect those at risk or manage those convicted of sexual offences has taken place in Carlisle.

The psychology and psychological therapies team at University of Cumbria recently teamed up with Probation Service North West and Cumbria County Council to host the event.

Aimed at professional practitioners and students, it took place at the university’s Learning Gateway on its Fusehill Street campus and was led by Sarah Ward from the Probation Service.

University of Cumbria’s principal lecturer for psychology and psychological therapies, Dr Julie Taylor, said: “The programme for the day included talks from Iain McKay from the NSPCC; Paul Whitehouse from the Sex Offending Resource Team and myself.

“The morning’s talks were followed by a range of workshops in the afternoon looking at issues around Child to Parent Violence; Technology Assisted Harmful Sexual Behaviour and skills for working with offending behaviour.”

The event was part of continuing Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) in Cumbria.