A leading light manufacturer in the UK, Thorn Lighting have participated and supported the last couple of Bring It On events. The company donated support by providing all lighting at last year’s Bring it On event and will be supporting the event again this year.
We caught up with Martin Thompson, Thorn Academy of Light Manager on the benefits Bring It On brings to the business as well as the real-life example of North East businesses coming together to give something back to the community, enthuse and inspire the next generation of North East engineers.
Martin, Thorn Lighting have supported Bring It On last year and will be ‘giving light’ to the event this year as well – what do you find beneficial about the event for you as a business?
Brand awareness to the younger generation with an education built in. What we put together was learning by doing; being active with the lights. The self-predication of knowledge transfer. The thought and the pleasure that we have been able to inspire the next generation.
On a professional side, keeping our name in the technology sector. It was great for us at the Beacon if Light, to be involved with them on their first main event, a bonus having the venue as we have been involved with the Beacon of Light for three years.
What did you enjoy about last year’s event the most?
The enjoyment of having our luminaires being a focal point of the event. The whole knowledge transfer process that we had going on at the stand throughout the two days was amazing, questions and answers with the children were really good.
The event contributed towards our own personal development as well; our apprentices were put in front of the pupils and were able to develop their presentation skills and interaction.
Seeing local and neighboring engineer/technology companies join forces and come together for a spectacular event allows you to see the bigger picture and release the power of STEM-based subjects within the region. I walked around the whole event on both days, and it was brilliant to see the efforts that companies had gone to, to ensure that the students would enjoy and benefit from the exhibition.
How do you think Bring It On impacts on the engineering/technology industry in the North East?
Potentially, it provides a foundation and platform for future young engineers.
The engineering/technology companies who have previously engaged with Bring it On, they’re inspiring the young people, who simply may not know what engineering is.
Bring it On is not only educational to the pupils and the teachers, but it highlights how established the engineering sector is to the North East region. Walking around the exhibition myself in 2018; I was so impressed and enthused by the amount of activity that was happening; knowing that the North East was bustling with innovation and opportunity. For the schools to see this too, it must be encouraging!
How did you feel about talking to school kids about what you do as a business and passing on your knowledge and expertise?
It’s great for me to be able to give just a little bit of knowledge about professional lighting, to the younger generation. Who knows, we may have the next Joseph Swan in the region.
At the 2018 exhibition, it was lovely to see students from a variety of schools gather around our stand, as Martin or one of our apprentices spoke to the students about THORN and what we do as a company. It was thrilling to see the students ‘excited’ about the concept of controlling light levels with the iPads and ‘wowed’ by the technology connection. You can see the ‘light bulb’ moment as they realise that lighting is more fascinating than they thought – and that’s the main reason why Bring it On works… The students actually see with their own eyes, it’s not a point or just a subject that they have to learn in the classroom, they actually witness the technology in front of them, and that’s why the idea of engineering should stay with them on their journey through school and into their career path.
What do you think about Bring It On’s aim to inspire the next generation of engineers and to encourage kids to follow a career in STEM-based subjects?
I think the aim of Bring it On, is very clear; to excite the younger generation.
To choose a career path in Engineering is not always the first idea that springs to mind for most young people, but introducing them to the sector from a younger age and displaying the types of activities and topics associated with the STEM-based subjects will hopefully influence their thought process as they continue through their education.
Encouraging students more towards STEM-based subjects can only be positive for our local, regional and national community. Developing a more educated, intelligent and skillful generation sets the foundations for nothing but an innovative future and success for the coming years.
What are your expectations for this year’s event?
We are hoping for the same or even more enthusiasm as last year and some unexpected activities on the day to ‘wow’ the younger people and the exhibitors.
We are very much looking forward to another successful Bring it On event!