TRYING to sway the ambitions of budding scientists and engineers towards a potentially rewarding career on the Isle of Wight was the aim of GKN Aerospace, which held an event as part of National Manufacturing Day.

A party of 41 students from seven Island schools and colleges were invited to spend a day at GKN's Falcon Yard site in East Cowes, on Thursday. 

They were given a glimpse into what the benefits would be on embarking on a career in aerospace manufacturing.

The day was a mixture of fun and education, which included a tour of GKN’s manufacturing facility and some group games.

Students saw the manufacturing processes of various GKN products, such as wing tips and ailerons, fitted to commercial aircraft worldwide.

GKN have an established apprenticeship scheme, with 65 apprentices on it, working closely with Island training providers CECAMM at the Isle of Wight College.

Gary Hernes, GKN's site director, said the event was an important way of letting young people discover what opportunities there are for careers within the company.

"The retention of skills at GKN is super important for our future — the plans we have for the aerospace industry and the longevity of GKN on the Island," he said.

Christ the King College student Ebosetale Abhulimhen-Iyoha, 15, found the event fascinating.

He said: "Coming along got me thinking about following a different career path. It has inspired and reassured me engineering has more to be explored." 

Someone already on a GKN apprenticeship scheme the past two years, Daniel Boothroyd, 19, was keen to share his experience with visiting students.

"You don't really get to know this kind of information at school, so events like this are really important," Daniel said.

"Being on the scheme is amazing. You get great qualifications, you get paid, it's a great atmosphere to work in and I learned more at GKN than if I'd gone to university. I've loved every second of it."

The Island's Lord Lieutenant, Susie Sheldon, Island MP Bob Seely and Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for children's services, education and lifelong skills, Debbie Andre, attended the event.

"Events like this are really important because we need quality apprenticeships on the Island," Mr Seely said.

"We have world leading businesses and industries in advanced aerospace and marine manufacturing. All of them are going to need a really skilled, highly educated workforce.

"Schools should not automatically assume their most talented and capable students should do degree courses on the mainland. They should think about how they should be doing them via apprenticeships on the Island."

Susie Sheldon, the Island's Lord Lieutenant, also toured GKN with students. She said: "Visiting a site like this will open student' eyes and hopefully light the fire for an engineering career."