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Teacher Interview: Amy Hirst

Amy Hirst has been teaching engineering at UTC Leeds since September 2017, having previously taught engineering at UTC Sheffield for three years. After taking a year out travelling, she returned to teaching at a UTC as she decided that she couldn’t teach the subject to the level that she wanted to teach it anywhere else: ‘The way that we try and inspire students is by getting the employers on board to create exciting real-life projects, so students can see how their engineering work can develop into potential careers.’

UTC Leeds students benefit from working with over 70 employers throughout their studies, as Amy explains: ‘Some of the work we’ve been doing with employers includes an orthotics project with the University, and a project to reduce energy waste and CO2 emissions with Agfa. These sorts of projects are valuable to students because it shows all the different options and areas of engineering that the students could progress into after their study at UTC Leeds.’

Amy mostly teaches design engineering, which includes CAD, 3D modelling and testing of products before they are manufactured. UTC students benefit from using the latest technology in this area: ‘We are using a new CAD package and the students are picking it up incredibly fast. My Year 12s are working at a university level already.’

Amy enjoys working in the UTC environment as every day is different and presents a new challenge: ‘It’s inspiring, the students inspire me and I hopefully inspire them. It’s the subject that I love, and I love showing how it’s developed over the years. The facilities are amazing and the staff are amazing. The expertise that we have within the building is second to none. We are all teaching to our strengths.’

Finally, Amy is proud to be a woman in engineering: ‘Being a woman in engineering means that we open the pool of skilled staff for engineering. Just by sheer numbers there will be a higher percentage of highly trained people because there will be women and men in the mix.’