Year 8 Work Place Visit to General Dynamics UK, Hastings
Top Secret - it’s Classified!
On Tuesday 5th February, a small group of our Year 8 students visited the engineering company, General Dynamics UK, in Hastings. On arrival, students were welcomed by Rob, the Works Manager for Manufacturing and Joy, the HR Manager who introduced us to Graham, a new apprentice to General Dynamics UK. We were taken to the conference suite where Rob and Joy gave a presentation on the company. We learned that General Dynamics UK is part of a world-wide company, with its head office based in America. The company has been established in the UK for more than 50 years and began its days in London before moving to Hastings in 1974. General Dynamics UK is one of the UK’s leading defence companies and an important supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence. Students asked some great questions and found out that the company employs 1400 people in the UK. Rob gave us an introduction to engineering and informed our students that General Dynamics UK provides the tactical communication system, known as Bowman, to the UK armed forces. The company is also a leading provider of avionic systems onto the Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado, AgustaWestland & Wildcat platforms. Students found out that there are 260 highly-skilled employees at the Hastings Churchfields site and we were then invited to visit staff on the ‘shop floor’ and have a tour. Students also asked if the work General Dynamics UK do is ‘Top Secret’! The answer was yes! Staff have to sign the official secrets act and there are different levels of ‘classified’. Rob then asked students if they knew what electrostatic force meant. Most of our Year 8s knew the answer to this and one gave a very accurate description. We then found out that because the electrostatic force can affect the equipment on the shop floor, we had to wear special yellow strips over our shoes to prevent this from happening! Students met technicians who programme the equipment which makes the circuit boards, staff who check and test the boards, technicians who mend broken boards using a microscope. We saw the testing machines & met pickers, packers, painters & despatch! Students asked what qualifications they would need to work at General Dynamics UK and found out that Maths, English & Science are essential – Maths & Science for the engineering side and English for office/HR work. Students had a great time on their work place visit and many are thinking about engineering as a future career!