The last few decades have seen a rapid acceleration in the development and uptake of smart products and semi- intelligent devices and objects.
The barrier to entry has also come down and it is now quite possible for medium sized firms to launch satellites into space using rockets of their own design and manufacture.
This was once the realm of sovereign states or even multiple countries due to the cost and complexity. A great deal of this innovation has been driven by the constant improvement and miniaturisation of control systems. Most primary school learners have used mini computers such as the Raspberry Pi™ and in 2015 all UK Year 7 learners were given their own C micro: bit computer to use. The increasing access to these powerful and easy to use control devices has opened up a huge number of possibilities for companies to explore industries from rocket science to artificial intelligence and school learners are in an excellent position to follow closely behind. The object of this qualification is to introduce KS4 learners to this fast moving world and equip them for jobs in these industries in the near future. The learners will learn how to build and fly rockets, how to build some objects to go into those rockets, such as microsatellites. They will explore artificial intelligence, and look at the issues surrounding the making and use of unmanned vehicles. These advanced manufacturing technologies are central to a great deal of the new and exciting careers that are emerging and will continue to develop in the coming years. A good understanding of the technology, including some of the social issues surrounding them, will equip learners for a position in the sector and a chance to advance as the technology matures.
This qualification is designed for 14-16-year-old learners who want to use and understand advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques to promote themselves for further study or for job applications. Any learners who use advanced manufacturing technologies to create or explore materials, or who wish to pursue a career or further study in any of the main areas of study in this qualification will benefit from the skills and understanding on offer.
In terms of career options, the qualification will be suitable for a range of the government’s recognised pathways:
1. Engineering and Manufacturing - learners will learn how to design and make a variety of modern devices such as unmanned vehicles and microsatellites. They will learn how to use devices such as 3D printers.
2. Creative and Design - they will explore how to use CAD/CAM in order to bring their ideas to life.
3. Health and Science - they will explore the use of AI and robotics in PharmaTech.
4. Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care - they will explore and analyse the use of microsatellite data for crop and environmental analysis as well as the use of unmanned vehicles for agriculture.
5. Digital 6 - they will use simulation software to launch and develop rockets and unmanned vehicles and use other digital tools for design work and control functions.
6. Social Care - they will investigate the use of robotics and An for health and social care. Will robots replace people for caring professions in the future?
7. Transport and Logistics - they will explore the increasing turn towards unmanned vehicles for logistics such as cars and trucks. All of these areas of study require different ways of using skills, knowledge and understanding, but all have a common theme of requiring the learner to be effective and efficient. This qualification works towards achieving that goal. The skills include numeracy, literacy, engineering, design, creative arts, science and embedded software development.