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UK National Apprenticeship Week: Alcoa Foundation and Discovery Education host live virtual field trip for pupils worldwide
Alcoa virtual field trip - Photo of Grace Academy students in the Alcoa Plant, Kitts Green, Birmingham

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 Manufacture Your Future Live Virtual Field Trip was organised by Alcoa Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development to schools. Broadcast from Alcoa’s aluminium rolling mill in Kitts Green, Birmingham on Friday 4th March, the event was streamed live into classrooms around the world.

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 cutting-edge 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.

Tim Burgum, Science Teacher at Grace Academy said:

“We were thrilled to take part in this live broadcast with Discovery Education, which gave our pupils the opportunity to interview a Government Minister and see behind-the-scenes at the Alcoa plant. The event really helped them to see how their maths and science lessons relate to real life jobs, and has sparked great excitement about the future career paths they might take.”

The virtual field trip was provided as part of Alcoa Foundation and Discovery Education’s award-winning ‘Manufacture Your Future’ programme and website, which provides teachers, pupils and families with resources and advice to build excitement around careers in advanced manufacturing.

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.”

Lewis Bronze MBE, VP and Director of Content at Discovery Education said:

“Discovery Education is proud to continue our partnership with Alcoa Foundation. It was great to see so many schools take a virtual leap beyond the classroom to join us for our live lesson.”

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 [www.manufactureyourfuture.com/UKVirtualFieldTrip and www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/vft]. The sites also offer free, engaging teaching resources including lesson plans and cross-curricular digital content.

About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.

About Alcoa

A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power generation. We pioneered the aluminium industry over 125 years ago, and today, our 60,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add products made of titanium, nickel and aluminium, and produce best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminium products. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alcoa and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alcoa.

About Alcoa Global Rolled Products, Kitts Green

Established in 1938 and acquired by Alcoa in 2000, Alcoa Kitts Green is the UK’s largest Aluminium rolling mill. The Kitts Green facility is part of Alcoa’s Global Rolled Products business and predominately serves the Aerospace, Defense and General Engineering Markets with Rolled Plate, Cast Slab, and Aluminium Lithium Plate & Billet.

Alcoa's first presence in the United Kingdom was in the late 1950s with a rolling and extrusion mill in Swansea, Wales. Today, we have locations throughout England that serve the needs of Europe's aerospace, commercial transportation, industrial and building markets. Our products range from flat rolled plate, forgings and fasteners for the aerospace industry to super alloys and advanced components for industrial gas turbines and jet engines.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education empowers teachers and captivates pupils by providing high-quality, dynamic, digital content to primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom.

Discovery Education offers a range of services and opportunities for schools to meet the needs of students in the digital age. With award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, virtual experiences with some of Discovery's most talented presenters and contributors, classroom contests and challenges, professional development and more.

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, the number one non-fiction media company in the world, which includes the popular global television networks Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet.

For more information about Discovery Education’s services and resources, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk.