Ifield Community College and Ardingly College's STEM bus project design is now complete

GEW drives STEM Bus initiative

Phase 1 of our STEM Bus Project is complete… the bus has now been repaired, cleaned up and given a whole new look with a striking graphic wrap. Even the roof has been wrapped for the benefit of people in high buildings, and low-flying aircraft!

It is now being transformed into a mobile classroom and technology workshop for the benefit of two of our local centres of education… Ifield Community College and Ardingly College. The bus will also promote STEM by visiting other local schools and colleges, and through appearances at relevant public shows and events.

The interior of the bus has been stripped of almost all of its seats and the next stage in the process is the interior transformation. Pupils and staff at Ifield Community College are now beginning to convert the interior into a fully functioning workshop downstairs, while the upstairs deck will be used for teaching and briefings. GEW will offer guidance and technical support, and will continue to be involved in this exciting initiative.

Those pupils involved in the project at Ifield were invited to enter a competition to create a design piece to go on to the bus, and the competition winner was Year 9 pupil Autumn Peck. Autumn’s colourful design has been incorporated into the graphics on the rear of the bus, to great effect.

GEW delivered the fully wrapped bus to Ifield Community College on a glorious summer’s day, for its official handover to the colleges. The ceremony was attended by Ifield pupils and staff from both colleges, including Headmaster Ben Figgis from Ardingly College and Headteacher Rob Corbett from Ifield Community College.

GEW’s Managing Director Malcolm Rae, and HR Director Ele Rae, were also in attendance. Malcolm explained the reasoning behind GEW’s involvement in the project: “Our business is built upon high power electronics and optomechanical systems, with high powered LED light sources also becoming a prevalent curing source in the modern printing market. The technical development of our mercury arc, LED and excimer curing technologies have been driven predominantly by customer demand; we work very closely with customers, suppliers and ink manufacturers to ensure GEW are offering state-of-the-art technology for all print applications.

“We rely upon a wide range of skills throughout our business – the more technically aware the better. Having myself graduated in 1976 as a Mechanical Engineer I have spent my entire working career in manufacturing, with the past 31 years spent building GEW.

“When Andrew Spiers, Director of Science and Technology at Ardingly College, approached me about the STEM project I was immediately attracted to the idea. Companies like ours are built on bringing excellent technical minds into our business so it is important to enthuse young people about the myriad of ways they can become involved in careers where they use a technical education as the foundation. We have countless projects which have been enhanced hugely by bright minds working on them.

“I hope, in a small way, the GEW-sponsored bus will enable students to begin to understand how important STEM can be in determining their future and that of their world.”