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'Spaghetti Towers’ challenge promotes careers in high value manufacturing

The Black Country Skills Factory delivered an interactive manufacturing challenge called ‘Spaghetti Towers’ to students at the Black Country ‘Your Future, Your Choice’ Careers and Employability event earlier this month.

The event organised by Business in the Community and sponsored by the Skills Factory, took place on Tuesday 8th April 2014 and aimed to create a dynamic showcase of local industry for young people to get impartial advice about their future jobs and careers.

The Skills Factory encouraged students from ‘Business Class’ schools across the Black Country to take part in the ‘hands on’ Spaghetti Towers challenge to build the highest tower in 3 minutes with limited supplies of spaghetti and marshmallows.

By competing with their peers to make the tallest and strongest structure, the activity gave young people an insight into the real-life processes of testing, design, redevelopments and prototyping that are needed in jobs in manufacturing and engineering. It also highlighted some of the key skills required by manufacturers on a day-to-day basis, including: purchasing, decision making, working in a team, meeting deadlines, creativity and understanding of materials. 

The event was targeted at year 9 pupils ahead of their subject choices for study in years 10 and 11. Competition winners received a small prize and a Skills Factory Career Wheel highlighting the different career pathways into the high value manufacturing (HVM) sector.

Business Class is Business in the Community’s flagship education programme partnering businesses with schools in socially disadvantaged areas in long-term strategic partnerships, working together in local clusters to enable collaborative action. The Skills Factory supported this event to raise awareness of careers in the growing HVM sector in the Black Country.

The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project supported by government funding whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the HVM sector in the Black Country, the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector.

For further information on the Black Country Skills Factory, visit: or contact Colin Parker on 07944 268709 / Jacki Lakin on 07944 268712.

To find out more follow on Twitter: @BCSkillsFactory

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