An innovative interpretation of the Inequality
Challenge for South Yorkshire Schools (ICSYS)
project by Sheffield LEA has resulted in a
partnership between the LEA, local schools and
Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). The aim of the
project is to provide black ethnic minority (BEM)
pupils with a high quality Design and Technology
(D&T) experience, which promotes career
opportunities in the field of contemporary
manufacturing and engineering. To achieve this aim
computer aided design and manufacturing
(CAD/CAM), acknowledged as a highly motivating
aspect of the modern D&T curriculum, has been
selected as the vehicle for the teaching and learning
experiences that the pupils will be exposed to. The
project is funded by Objective 1 European Social
Funding via the Learning and Skills Council.
To achieve the aim the project incorporated the
• DATA accredited CAD/CAM INSET in Speedstep
and Artcam for teachers in participating schools.
• A programme of pupil visits to manufacturing
industry where the focus was on applications of
CAD/CAM processes in ‘high tech’ industry.
• CAD/CAM workshops for pupils in the university
where they participated in small group activities led
by D&T initial teacher education (ITE) students.
• The development of innovative CAD/CAM projects
with the aim of encouraging BEM pupils to
consider careers in ‘high tech’ manufacturing.
• Opportunities for BEM pupils to gain experience of
• Follow up CAD/CAM teaching in schools by
• Opportunities for pupils to develop their
Initial research drawn from industrial sources highlighted
the need for increasing the supply of
engineers, particularly in South Yorkshire, and called
for further educational initiatives. Research of national
data confirmed the LEA’s view that engineering and
manufacturing were not strong career aspirations for
BEM pupils. Further research with BEM pupils
confirmed this. During the ICSYS experience pupils’
views of manufacturing, particularly the ‘high tech.’
aspect represented by CAD/CAM were monitored by
questionnaires. Triangulation of the research was by
an independent evaluation using semi-structured
interview techniques. The paper concludes with
details of the extent to which pupils attitudes can be
changed by this type of positive intervention.
Additionally, it details those areas of the project which
have been particularly successful so providing helpful
information to both present and future D&T teachers
whose groups include BEM pupils.