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Engineering trainer to the education sector sees rapid expansion after funded scaleup support

Primary Engineer Dr Susan Scurlock MBE with school students

An educational programme provider has increased its team to 20 and is looking to expand its programmes across the UK after receiving tailored guidance during the pandemic from Lancashire County Council’s scaleup business support service Two Zero.

Primary Engineer, a not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Burnley, specialises in promoting engineering education and careers in UK schools. Its expansion plans include introducing the programme into Wales for the first time this year. The organisation’s core aim is the development of children and young people through engagement with engineering and promoting engineering careers and it is backed by industry partners including Network Rail, ScotRail, Hitachi, Siemens, WEIR, RAF and the Civil Aviation Authority. Primary Engineer also operates a swathe of national engineering celebration events for children, with over 100 planned across the UK this academic year.

Founder Dr Susan Scurlock MBE, a former secondary school teacher, took part in Two Zero’s Scaleup Resurgence programme, which ran during the pandemic though the second half of 2020. She received support to help her move educational programmes online, as well as tailored support for scaleups including on finance and planning. This has positioned the organisation for growth over the coming years. Susan said: “By moving many of our programmes online during the pandemic, we found we have greater access to engineering professionals to deliver the programmes remotely. This has led to a rapid growth of specialists available to support our activities.

The Scaleup Resurgence programme was designed to support scaleup companies in Lancashire through the Covid-19 pandemic and return them to their scaleup trajectory as quickly as possible. Two Zero is a Lancashire County Council led scaleup partnership and helps leaders of Lancashire scaleup businesses realise their ambition by delivering programmes, providing access to inspirational and educational resources and opportunities to network with other scaleup leaders.

Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence was delivered by Lancashire-based business performance consultancy Cube Thinking. During the Scaleup Resurgence programme, Susan increased her experience related to business planning, defining strategy objectives and how to use business measurement tools. She also benefitted from working alongside business leaders facing the same challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. She said: “As business professionals working together, we shared the same challenges but were dealing with them through different processes as we all sought to find opportunities through adversity.” “We have since adapted to new ways to deliver our Primary Engineer’s programmes, and we have learned to have the systems and processes in place to make sure the business is more adaptable in the future.”

Susan believes the organisation is now well-positioned for rapid growth and is hiring additional staff and expanding the range of programmes available to schools. 

County councillor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth, Lancashire County Council said: “Programmes such as Two Zero’s Scaleup Resurgence help support businesses to grow and reach their potential. By helping Primary Engineer to scale, Two Zero is not just benefitting one organisation but also the partners it works with, contributing to the long-term growth of the county’s engineering sector.”

County councillor Jayne Rear, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Lancashire County Council said: “Primary Engineer provides a vital service to help promote engineering careers throughout the entire education sector. The work that Susan does through schools and colleges also aids the development of the country’s future engineers and I’m proud that through Lancashire County Council backed support this excellent organisation will be able to help more young people across the UK.”

Pictured above: MP Stephen Metcalfe and Dr Susan Scurlock, CEO of Primary Engineer, with school students at the Grading Day at Advanced Forming Research Centre, Inchinaan, Glasgow.


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