Sponsor: London Transport Museum IMG_9539 (2)
Sponsor Liaison: David Houston
Student Team:

Lauren Baker

Casey Broslawski

Cameron Crook

Shannon Healey

Abstract: To address the United Kingdom’s shortage of engineers, we developed the Full Speed Ahead Program and revised the Inspire Engineering Mentoring Program for the London Transport Museum; the former is a curriculum composed of ten modular lessons and teaches year 10 and 11 students about engineering in an interactive, hands-on environment while the latter focuses on engineering education and professional development for year 12 students. Both programs encourage students to pursue science and engineering by exploring these fields.

Teaching Resources for the LTM

Full Speed Ahead Program Teacher Handbook

Full Speed Ahead Program Resource Handbook

Full Speed Ahead Program Letter to Program Coordinator

Final Presentation

Executive Summary


Interest in engineering among United Kingdom students is dwindling despite generous salaries and a respectable professional image. As of 2013, the number of students entering the United Kingdom’s (UK) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries will not fill the void created by the number of employees retiring from these fields and the new job openings in the expanding economy (STEMNET, n.d.).

Engineering UK, a non-profit organization which partners with engineering firms to demystify engineering in the public eye, claimed failure to meet the demand for engineers will result in the “damage of individual prosperity for employees” and could threaten the “economic sustainability of engineering employers” (Engineering UK, 2015, pg. 2 and pg. 1). In order to avoid potential economic problems, Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with several museums and technical secondary schools to reignite interest in engineering amongst the country’s youth.

As part of this initiative, the London Transport Museum (LTM) sought assistance from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s London Project Center to develop a program for students, ages 14 to 16 that expands upon the success of the Inspire Engineering Mentoring Program (IEMP). The IEMP is an engineering mentorship program for year 12 students (ages 16 and 17) focused on illuminating engineering careers and professionally developing participating students. Consequently, the goal of our project was to contribute to these efforts by developing a multi-disciplined, engineering-centric, project-based curriculum culminating in a tour of the LTM to inspire year 10 and 11 (age 14 to 16) students to pursue engineering. We also endeavored to streamline and improve the IEMP’s materials based on stakeholders, mentors, and mentees’ feedback who participated in its pilot.


To achieve both goals, we created and completed a list of objectives for the development of the Full Speed Ahead Program (FSAP) and the revision of the IEMP. First, we defined the FSAP’s learning outcomes and ensured the program matched the General Certificate of Secondary Education’s (GCSE) standards. After a prototype of the FSAP was reviewed by our sponsor and educational experts, we piloted select activities of it with Royal Greenwich University Technical College (Greenwich UTC) students. We took note of the students’ behavior, level of engagement and comprehension and made revisions based on the participating students’ feedback.

Simultaneously, in order to enhance the IEMP; we collected data from various engineering, educational, and business professionals as well as the program’s mentors and mentees. In addition, we reviewed and incorporated support for the Business Technology Education Council (BTEC) curriculum and added more activities, such as a session exploring personal statements for university applications, to help mentors relate to students and tailor the program to their mentees. Upon the completion of the FSAP and IEMP’s materials, we presented the deliverables to our sponsor in the form of handbooks and a presentation.


We developed two programs: the brand new FSAP and the revised IEMP. Table i summarizes and compares the format of each activity. The key strength of both programs is their flexibility, or ability to quickly be restructured to match the needs of the students.


Goal To inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields. To promote the professional and personal development of students, especially in regard to STEM careers.
Number of Sessions 10 optional sessions (One to four hours per session) A selection of 10 sessions (One hour per monthly session)

·        Teacher Packet which includes Student Packet worksheets and a list of relevant LTM handling objects

·        Resources Packet which includes additional information for sessions

Mentor Handbook which includes student worksheets for each session
Learning Outcomes

1.     To inspire students to pursue a career in engineering

2.     To enable students to see the breadth and depth of engineering as a field

3.     To guide students to see the benefits of ‘soft skills’ in engineering careers

4.     To empower students to have the confidence in their ability to pursue careers in engineering.

1.     To support students’ growth personally and professionally

2.     To develop the students’ understanding of engineering

Target Audience

Key Stage 4

Year 10 and 11 GCSE students

Key Stage 5

Year 12 GCSE and BTEC students

Structure Students complete each activity as a mock engineering firm, promoting teamwork. Upon completion of the curriculum teams will have made a full rail line with a company logo, train, track, tunnel, bridge, station, and mathematical analyses. The program concludes with a trip to the LTM (Session 10). Students are sorted into groups of six with two junior mentors. The junior mentor is supported by a senior mentor who can provide engineering and teaching advice. To see the structure pictorially, view Figure 6.
Session Structure

Does vary, but generally:

·        Introduction

·        Research Phase

·        Design Phase

·        Build Phase

·        Recap/Discussion Phase

Types of Activities

·        Hands-on activities

·        Written reports

·        Mathematical analyses

·        Presentation

·        Hands-on activities

·        Professional writing (CV and personal statements)

·        Discussions about definition of engineering

·        Mock interview

·        Tutoring

Engineering Ambassador Involvement One optional visit Every session

Table i: A summary of the FSAP and IEMP


Based on our background research, interviews, and pilot of the program, we uncovered the FSAP findings. Our most important findings include: (1) the development of the learning outcomes; (2) the merits of a flexible curriculum, and (3) the effectiveness of diagrams in conveying concepts.

Full Speed Ahead Program

The first finding was the FSAP’s learning outcomes, which we developed through extensive interviews with our sponsor and educational professionals; the learning outcomes are listed in Table i. These learning outcomes clearly outline the messages students should receive from participating in the program. All of the learning outcomes revolve around the notion, that engineering is an interesting and attainable goal.

Next, we discovered a flexible, modular program works best with a variety of schools, ranging from state schools to university technical colleges. A modular program is comprised of many sessions connecting to an overarching theme allowing teachers to run only the most relevant sections. Similarly, a flexible program can cater to all levels of student ability. For example, the Teacher Handbook now includes an “Above and Beyond” section to challenge excelling students.

The FSAP’s final major finding demonstrated diagrams are far superior at conveying concepts than text. We realized this through the pilot at Greenwich UTC where students ignored large blocks of text in the Resource Handbook. This finding helped us revise the FSAP further as we removed as many long blocks of text as possible, even if it simply meant breaking lengthy essays into separate paragraphs.

Inspire Engineering Mentoring Program

Through an analysis of the existing IEMP curriculum and feedback from the program’s coordinator, mentors, and students, we discovered the IEMP findings. In short, we found the program was too structured and did not allow mentors to adjust sessions to suit their mentees. Similarly, we found the length of the Student Handbook deterred students from utilizing it and meetings with larger student groups aided mentee engagement. Furthermore, students better engage with young engineers because these new professionals could relate to the mentees.


A career in STEM is mutually beneficial; it can empower a person and affect millions more. In a 2013 speech to the United Nations, teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai perfectly encapsulated the aim of our work in saying “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” We believe this auspicious project will in some small way alleviate the challenges facing STEM education in the UK.


Our work not only yielded tremendous insights but also suggested additional areas for further program development. To begin, the FSAP must be run in full by teachers in a real classroom environment; only its direct application by education professionals can identify and resolve its flaws. Of course, to ensure the program runs smoothly we recommend the LTM hosts an orientation for participating teachers. Furthermore, we suggest accrediting the program as a GCSE through the Oxford Cambridge and Royal Society of the Arts (OCR) so as to bolster its legitimacy and encourage its use. Finally, the LTM should develop interactive, online resources for the FSAP to help engage students during each sessions’ Research Phase. However, even as we outline possible areas for improvement, we are satisfied with the thoroughness and capabilities of both the current FSAP and IEMP and are confident that each can be successfully implemented.